Emiliano Sala exposed to 'harmful levels of carbon monoxide' before fatal plane crash

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Family demand Sala plane is salvaged after ‘potentially fatal’ carbon monoxide levels revealed

The footballer died in a plane crash on January 21
The footballer died in a plane crash on January 21 Credit: LOIC VENANCE/AFP

The Emiliano Sala plane tragedy may have been caused by the footballer and his pilot breathing deadly levels of carbon monoxide in the cockpit.

Toxicology tests on Sala suggest the player passed out to the high levels of toxin. He had a carbon monoxide saturation of 58 per cent in his blood.

Anything over 50 per cent is likely to cause "seizure, unconsciousness, heart attack", according to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

The discovery raises new questions over the air-worthiness of the Piper PA-46 Malibu that crashed into the English Channel on Jan 21.

Pilot Dave Ibbotson, a part-time gas engineer, was at the controls despite only holding a private licence. Sala and the pilot died as the player completed a £15million transfer to Cardiff City from Nantes.

Legal recriminations are ongoing between the clubs. David Henderson, who arranged the flight on behalf of the agent Willie McKay, is currently on bail, having been arrested in June on suspicion of manslaughter.

The AAIB said in a statement: "Toxicology tests found that the passenger had a high saturation level of COHb (the combination product of carbon monoxide and haemoglobin). It is considered likely that the pilot would also have been exposed to carbon monoxide."

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