A British pilot from the East Riding of Yorkshire is being prosecuted over the crash which killed Argentinian professional, footballer Emiliano Sala.
The 28-year-old striker 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. His body was recovered from the seabed 68 metres down two weeks after while Ibbotson’s body has still not been found.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced in a statement that David Henderson, 66, who was meant to have flown the footballer, has been charged 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.
CAA director Richard Stephenson 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.
“It will be inappropriate for the CAA to say anything further until the case is concluded.”
According to CAA, Henderson appeared at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court on September 28, but was bailed to appear at Cardiff Crown Court on October 26.
Daniel Machover of law firm Hickman and Rose – which is representing the footballer’s mother, Mercedes Taffarel, said: “Mercedes Taffarel welcomes the prosecution of David Henderson, but is disappointed that it has today resulted in what may be a further significant delay to the inquest into Emiliano’s death.
“This coming January will mark two years since the plane Emiliano was travelling in crashed into the English Channel.
“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 into the crash by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch found that neither David Ibbotson nor the plane were licensed for the flight to operate commercially, but evidence showed he was to be paid a fee.