David Henderson admits he arranged Emiliano Sala’s flight illegally

Organiser of fatal Emiliano Sala flight jailed
Organiser of fatal Emiliano Sala flight jailed. image: twitter

David Henderson, who arranged Emiliano Sala’s fateful flight, admits he did so illegally

David Henderson, the man who organised the fateful trip that would result in the death of footballer Emiliano Sala, and the pilot, David Ibbotson, went on trial on Monday, October 18, in the city of Cardiff, the capital of Wales.

This short flight was supposed to carry the footballer from Nantes in France, across the English Channel, and land at Cardiff airport. The aircraft and the flight had been arranged by 66-year-old Henderson. In the court case, he stands accused of being negligent in arranging the details of the trip on a plane and in conditions that were not suitable, according to the British authorities.

Both men died when the light aircraft went down near Guernsey. A few days after the tragic accident, the body of the 28-year-old Argentinian footballer was recovered, while the pilot’s body was never found.


Sala had been signed from Nantes by Cardiff City, and the club had wanted their new player to fly on a commercial flight. This was contested by Willie McKay, and his son Mark, the intermediaries who carried out the deal, who took it upon themselves to hire the private aircraft that was used instead.

Despite the fact that Cardiff, the club that had signed Sala, tried to get the Argentine to fly to Wales on a commercial plane, the operation’s intermediaries, Willie McKay and his son Mark, hired Henderson to organize a private flight.

According to the accident investigations, Henderson obtained a plane for which Ibbotson did not have a licence. Also, the flight occurred in bad weather conditions.

This is the second time that Henderson has gone to trial, after he pleaded not guilty to breaking any navigation laws last October 2020, when was released on bail, pending this second trial.

David Henderson has pleaded guilty to the charges against him in the death of Emiliano Sala. He admitted to being the operator of the plane when he received payment for Sala to fly without permission or authorisation.

Henderson has denied the other charge brought against him. That of having hired David Ibbotson, 59, as a last-minute substitute pilot to fly the single-engine Piper Malibu from France to Cardiff airport, as reported by marca.com.


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Chris was born in a small village in Wales, where he ran his own successful construction company for many years, before deciding in 1990, to swap the grey skies and rain for the sunshine and lifestyle of the Costa del Sol. Late last year he made the move to Southern Portugal, and is now residing on the Algarve. Having sung and played in a rock band back in Wales, he still likes to go out and entertain in his spare time, singing in restaurants and golf clubs. Interests are of course music, especially from the 60s and 70s, movies, nice restaurants, and he has a passion for graphic design and online marketing.


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