The state of the plane in which the footballer died Argentinian Emiliano Salawhich crashed into the English Channel in early 2019, had worried its pilotwho described it as “dangerous” in a voicemail left for a friend.
The pilot David Ibbotson, 59, had been tasked with transporting the 28-year-old to say goodbye to his former FC Nantes team-mates before joining Cardiff, where he had just been transferred for €17m.
In a voice message left to a friend pilotwhich the BBC obtained and broadcast in a podcast dedicated to the case, Ibbotson casts doubt on the safety of the device, after the flight between Cardiff and Nantes.
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“I went to look for a footballer in Cardiff (…) They gave me the task of picking him up on a dangerous (plane),” Ibbotson had confided to his friend Kevin Jones, the day before the accident. “Normally I have my life jacket between the seats, but I’ll use it tomorrow, that’s for sure.”
What is more disturbing is that Ibbotson, who was not actually qualified to fly the plane, explains that he heard “a detonation” in the airplane in full flight, during that outward journey.
“It was flying and then +boom+,” he told his friend, “I was like, +What’s wrong?+ So I checked my parameters, everything was fine and it was still flying, but it caught my eye. East airplane must return to the hangar”, concluded the pilotafter realizing that the left brake pedal was not working when he landed at Nantes Atlantique.
According to the final report of the UK Air Accidents Investigation Office, published in March 2020, the pilotwhose body was never found, was “probably” poisoned with carbon monoxide from the engine’s exhaust system.
I would have lost control of airplane during a maneuver carried out at too high a speed before the plane plunged into the sea at a speed of 270 miles per hour (435 km/h), with no hope of survival.
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The body of the player, whose disappearance had shocked the world of football, was found in the casing of the ship more than two weeks after the accident, at a depth of 67 meters.
David Henderson, 67, who had organized the flight, was sentenced in mid-November to 18 months in prison for having hired a pilot that you knew you were not qualified and that you transported a passenger without a valid authorization.