Post by Football News on Jan 22, 2019 16:26:42 GMT
Cardiff City's Emiliano Sala was on board missing plane
French civil aviation authority confirms Argentine striker on board aircraft missing off coast of Guernsey; "We continue to pray for positive news," says Cardiff executive director.
Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala was on board an aircraft which went missing near the Channel Islands on Monday evening.
The French civil aviation authority confirmed to Sky Sports News that Sala was aboard the "single turbine engine aircraft", which disappeared from radar off the coast of the island of Guernsey.
Local air traffic control said the aircraft was travelling from Nantes in western France to Cardiff when it went missing.
Sky Sports News understands Cardiff were expecting their new £18m signing to travel back to south Wales on Monday night.
Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman said: "We are very concerned by the latest news that a light aircraft lost contact over the Channel last night.
"We are awaiting confirmation before we can say anything further. We are very concerned for the safety of Emiliano Sala."
Authorities say the Piper Malibu aircraft disappeared from radar near the Casquets lighthouse at about 8:30pm on Monday. As it passed Guernsey, the aircraft requested descent.
A search and rescue operation was launched and carried on until 2am on Tuesday, before being called off due to worsening weather conditions and later resuming at 8am.
Guernsey Coastguard received an alert from Air Traffic Control at 20:23 on Monday night that a light aircraft had gone off their radar "approximately 15 miles north" of Guernsey, initiating a major search and rescue operation.
Sala flew to Cardiff on Friday morning to undergo a medical, which was completed at around 5pm. He passed it, but it was too late for him to be involved against Newcastle on Saturday.
The Argentine carried out press duties with Cardiff on Friday evening and posed for a picture holding a shirt with fans outside the stadium.
As he was not required to train with Cardiff until Tuesday, Sala flew back to Nantes to sort out his personal affairs and to say goodbye to his friends and team-mates.
Sala's most recent post on Twitter, at lunchtime on Monday, shows the Argentine - who became Cardiff's club-record signing - bidding farewell to his former team-mates at Nantes.
The striker was expected back in Cardiff on Monday night, ahead of training with his new club for the first time on Tuesday.
Cardiff executive director Ken Choo said in a statement: "We were very shocked upon hearing the news that the plane had gone missing.
"We expected Emiliano to arrive last night into Cardiff and today was due to be his first day with the team.
"Our owner, Tan Sri Vincent Tan, and chairman, Mehmet Dalman, are all very distressed about the situation.
"We made the decision first thing this morning to call off training with the thoughts of the squad, management staff and the entire Club with Emiliano and the pilot.
"All of us at Cardiff City FC would like to thank our fans, and the entire footballing family for their support at this difficult time. We continue to pray for positive news."
Nantes were due to travel to Entente Sannois for their Coupe de France clash on Wednesday evening, but Sannois, who play in the third tier of French football, have agreed to postpone the match.
In a statement, Nantes president Waldemar Kita said: "I'm thinking of his friends, his family, I'm still in hope, he's a fighter, it's not over.
"Maybe he's somewhere, waiting for some news that we hope will be positive, we are very touched by all the support received since this morning."
A report into the death of footballer Emiliano Sala has found that neither the pilot nor plane had the required licence to operate commercial flights.
Sala died on January 21 last year, when the plane he was travelling in from Nantes in France to Cardiff came down in the English Channel. The body of the pilot, David Ibbotson, has never been found.
At £15m, Sala was Cardiff City's record signing. He had played for Nantes for four years and was the club's star striker, having scored 42 goals in 120 games.
Shortly before the fatal crash, he sent WhatsApp messages to friends, saying he thought the Piper Malibu aircraft was going to fall apart.
Friday's report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch has found that the pilot, Ibbotson, lost control of the plane during a manually-flown turn, which was more likely to have happened because the flight was "not conducted in accordance with safety standards applicable to commercial operation".
Ibbotson, who was colour blind, had no previous training to fly at night and his SEP rating, which allowed him to fly a single-engine piston aeroplane, had expired three months before the accident. He was paid for the flight, even though his licence didn't permit it.
Ibbotson had flown the Piper Malibu over to Nantes from Cardiff and had reported various issues, including an oil leak, as well as problems with the brakes and the stall warning system. While those couldn't have contributed to the accident, it is not known whether a reported 'bang' and mist in the cabin on the previous flight may have done.
It is likely that Ibbotson had felt pressure to complete the return leg of the journey at night and in poor weather conditions. But the plane was only allowed for private use and no permission had been sought or granted for it to be used commercially.
After the initial search operation was called off on January 24, Sala's family fundraised, in order to recover his body. A post-mortem examination found harmful levels of carbon monoxide in his system and it was therefore likely that the pilot had also come into contact with the toxic gas too. That would have impacted his ability to control the plane during the later stages of the flight.
While the plane's aircraft maintenance checks were complete, there were no carbon monoxide detectors on board. Friday's report found that the most likely reason the gas entered the cabin was a failure in part of the exhaust's tailpipe. Before the plane came down, there was a period of erratic flying. As the aircraft made contact with the sea, the tail section broke away, forcing the left wing to come away. It wouldn't have been possible to survive the impact.
Principal Inspector Brian McDermid said: "The aircraft was extensively damaged and the wreckage was in three parts, held together by electrical and flying control cables. The engine had disconnected from the cockpit area, and the rear section of the fuselage had broken away from the forward section.
"The cockpit area and instrument panel were badly disrupted, such that it would not have been possible with any confidence to determine the position of controls and switches before the crash."
There has been criticism of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch for failing to recover the plane wreckage when it had the opportunity last year. It has since been broken up by fishing trawlers, which means there is a lack of physical evidence to explore.
Cardiff City told Sky Sports News: "We welcome the publication of the AAIB report, an important step in understanding the full facts surrounding this tragedy.
A British pilot is to be prosecuted in connection with the plane crash in which the Argentinian professional footballer Emiliano Sala died.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) revealed on Thursday it had charged David Henderson, 66, with two offences relating to the accident over the Channel last year.
Striker Sala, 28, was being flown from Nantes in France to his new club, Cardiff City, on 21 January 2019 when the light aircraft being piloted by David Ibbotson, 59, from Lincolnshire, plunged into the sea near Guernsey. Sala’s body was recovered from the seabed 68 metres down but Ibbotson’s body has not been found.
The CAA said it has charged Henderson, who allegedly arranged the flight, with two offences under the Air Navigation Order (2016).
He is accused of acting in a “reckless/negligent” manner, and being involved in the commercial use of the plane involved in the crash.
Richard Stephenson, the CAA communications director, said: “The UK Civil Aviation Authority has commenced a prosecution of David Henderson for offences associated with the fatal light aircraft accident over the English Channel in January 2019.”
Henderson, who is from north-east England, is due to appear at Cardiff crown court on 26 October.
The prosecution means a full inquest is not expected to take place until 2022.
During a pre-inquest review on the case in Bournemouth, Keith Morton QC, representing the CAA, said: “On 9 September 2020, the CAA issued two summonses against David Henderson for offences under the Air Navigation Order.
“One, endangering aircraft, relates to two flights including the return flight on 21 January 2019, that ended in the accident. A separate offence relates to the licensing of that particular flight on 21 January.” He said Henderson had appeared at Cardiff magistrates and denied the charges.
Dorset coroner Rachael Griffin said it would be in the “interest of justice” not to go ahead with the inquest until criminal proceedings against Henderson had ended.
Matthew Reeve, representing Sala’s family, said they opposed the delay. He said: “There is a significant public interest to this inquest and delays should be avoided in the interest of public safety.
“There has already been a delay of two years and it is the wish of the family that this inquest hearing go on as planned. One does not have to imagine the impact on the family of further delay.”
Speaking afterwards, Daniel Machover of law firm Hickman & Rose, which is representing the footballer’s mother, Mercedes Taffarel, said she was disappointed.
He said: “His mother remains desperate to know the full truth about how this could have been allowed to happen, and urges the CAA to proceed with its criminal prosecution as swiftly as possible, so an inquest can be held to establish this, and that similar deaths are prevented.”
A report on the crash by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch found that neither Ibbotson nor the plane were licensed for the flight to operate commercially, but evidence showed he was to be paid a fee.
Unlicensed charter flight operations – known as grey charters – generally incur lower operating costs.
The inquest hearing was watched on video link by Ibbotson’s wife, Nora, with legal representatives for Cardiff City and the CAA in attendance. The inquest was adjourned until 15 December.