The jury inquest into the death of the footballer Emiliano Sala, who died in a plane crash in January 2019, has concluded. The Argentinian-born footballer was travelling from Nantes to Wales, where he was to be a player for Premier League club Cardiff City, when the aircraft in which he as a passenger was lost over the English Channel.

The jury concluded that Sala had died instantly from head and trunk injuries when the plane he was in crashed after breaking up mid-air. They also concluded he was likely to have been deeply unconscious from carbon monoxide poisoning at the time of impact.

The jury noted that the pilot did not have the correct license for either a commercial flight. or one at night. Nor was the aircraft itself operated or maintained in accordance with commercial use.

Following the jury’s conclusion, the Senior Coroner used her powers under Regulation 28 to contact a range of sporting bodies, including the Premier League to warn their members about the illegality of such flights, and the risks attached to them.  She also recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority be granted more powers to investigate the illegal operation of such flights.

David Manknell acted as Counsel for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) in the inquest, who investigated the causes of the accident. He was instructed by the Government Legal Department.

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