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Man goes on trial in plane death of footballer Emiliano Sala

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Emiliano Sala died when the plane carrying him and pilot David Ibbotson came down in the Channel.

London, United Kingdom:

A man charged in the death of Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala in a light plane crash in 2019 will face trial in Cardiff on Monday.

David Henderson was charged last year with endangering the safety of an aircraft and attempting to disembark a passenger without valid permission or authorization.

Henderson, who denies the allegations, is alleged to have arranged a flight to bring the former Nantes striker from France to Cardiff, where he was to begin training with the Welsh club, which was then in the Premier League.

The plane crashed into the sea off the Channel Islands of Guernsey, killing 28-year-old Sala and pilot David Ibbotson.

In a previous court hearing, it was alleged that Ibbotson was not licensed to fly an aircraft commercially, and that he was not certified to fly the now included Piper Malibu aircraft.

Sala became Cardiff’s record signing after a fee of £15 million ($19 million) was agreed with Nantes during the January transfer window.

After traveling to Cardiff to complete the deal, Sala returned to France to collect the goods and bid farewell to his Nantes teammates.

On his return flight to the Welsh capital on 21 January to attend his first training session, tragedy struck.

The initial search operation for the player and pilot was suspended in the days following the disappearance of the single-engine aircraft.

However, a crowd-funding effort backed by thousands of charities, including football stars such as Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe, helped launch a private search.

In that search, Sala’s body was recovered from the rubble in February 2019, but Ibbotson’s body was not found.

Two months after Sala’s body was discovered, his father, Horacio Sala, died of a heart attack in Argentina.

In March 2020 British air crash investigators concluded that Ibbotson was not licensed to fly the aircraft or fly at night, and that he lost control and flew too fast while trying to avoid bad weather.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch said the pilot and brother-in-law were affected by carbon monoxide poisoning before the crash.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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