66-year-old pilot charged in connection to Emiliano Sala plane crash
In this file photo taken on February 08, 2019 yellow flowers are displayed in front of the portrait of Argentinian forward Emiliano Sala at the Beaujoire stadium in Nantes, France. – Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala’s body is to be returned to Argentina on Friday for his wake at the Club Atletico y Social San Martin in his hometown Progreso, Santa Fe province. Sala’s body was recovered from plane wreckage in the English Channel last week. He was flying to his new team, English Premier League side Cardiff City, from his old French club Nantes when his plane went missing over the Channel on January 21. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)

A man is being prosecuted over the crash which killed footballer Emiliano Sala.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it has charged David Henderson 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.”

Henderson, 66, of East Riding of Yorkshire, appeared at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court on September 28.

He was bailed to appear at Cardiff Crown Court on October 26.

The prosecution could further delay the inquest into Sala’s death.

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.

66-year-old pilot charged in connection to Emiliano Sala plane crash
In this image released Monday Feb. 4, 2019, by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) showing the rear left side of the fuselage including part of the aircraft registration N264DB that went missing carrying soccer player Emiliano Sala, when it disappeared from radar contact on Jan. 21 2019. The Air accident investigators say one body is visible in the sea in the wreckage of the plane that went missing carrying soccer player Emiliano Sala and his pilot David Ibbotson. (AAIB via AP)

“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 those similar deaths are prevented.”

Sala was involved in a multimillion-pound transfer from FC Nantes in France to Cardiff City.

The 28-year-old Argentinian was killed when the plane he was travelling in crashed north of Guernsey on January 21, 2019.

His body was recovered the following month, but the body of the pilot, David Ibbotson, 59, from Crowle, Lincolnshire, has not been found.

A report into the crash by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch found that neither Mr 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.

Former football agent Willie McKay has said he paid for the fatal flight but did not choose the pilot or the plane.

He has explained he was helping his son Mark, who was acting for Nantes, to complete the transfer.

 

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