A man arrested on suspicion of manslaughter over the death of Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala was on Thursday named by the Times newspaper as pilot David Henderson.
Sala, 28, died when a plane carrying him and pilot David Ibbotson came down in the Channel on January 21, just days after he had joined Cardiff City from Nantes.
“As a result of our enquiries we have today, Wednesday 19 June 2019, arrested a 64-year-old man from the North Yorkshire area on suspicion of manslaughter by an unlawful act,” Detective Inspector Simon Huxter, of Dorset Police said in a statement.
“He is assisting with our enquiries and has been released from custody under investigation.”
The Times newspaper named the arrested man as pilot Henderson, who worked regularly for Willie McKay, a football agent linked with Sala’s transfer.
The agent has previously said he asked Henderson to fly the plane, but that he was unable to do so.
Sala had been Cardiff’s record signing after a fee of £15 million ($19 million) was agreed with Nantes during the January transfer window.
After travelling to Cardiff to complete the deal, Sala returned to northern France to collect belongings and bid farewell to his teammates.
It was on his return to the Welsh capital to take part in his first training session that the tragedy occurred.
Initial search operations for the player and pilot were suspended in the days after the plane went missing.
However, a crowdfunding effort supported by thousands of donations, including from football stars such as Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe, helped launch a private search.
That specialised search saw Sala’s body recovered from the wreckage in February but Ibbotson’s body has not been found.
Two months after Sala’s body was discovered, his father Horacio Sala died of a heart attack in Argentina.
Moving tributes were paid to Sala from across the football world with Nantes retiring the number nine jersey he wore for the Ligue 1 side.
However, the two clubs have been involved in a legal wrangle over the transfer fee.
Nantes reported Cardiff to FIFA after the first instalment of the fee, believed to be £5 million, was not paid on time.
Cardiff previously stated they were “shocked” at reports that Ibbotson did not have a licence to fly at night.
“The club remains deeply concerned that the pilot, and those who arranged the flight, seemingly completely disregarded the rules of flying and put Mr Sala‘s life in such danger,” Cardiff said in a statement in March.
“We believe those who are responsible should be held fully accountable for their actions.”
In the aftermath of the tragedy, Cardiff were relegated from the Premier League after just one season back in the top flight.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek capped Chelsea’s sorely-needed escape act with a last-gasp winner.
The result keeps sixth-placed Chelsea in contention for a top-four finish in the Premier League, leaving them just one point behind fourth as Sarri battles to salvage a wretched first season in charge.
Cardiff remains the third bottom, with boss Neil Warnock visibly furious at the decisions that pushed his team closer to relegation.
The pressure on Sarri will reduce a little with this victory, but the performance was so unconvincing that it would be no surprise if Wednesday’s clash with Brighton is another close affair for the former Napoli boss.
Despite the clamour for Callum Hudson-Odoi to be given his first league start for Chelsea after his fine England performances, Sarri was unmoved.
The 18-year-old was named among the substitutes, with Eden Hazard – scorer of a hat-trick against Cardiff back in September – also surprisingly on the bench alongside N’Golo Kante.
Chelsea controlled the early stages but the nearest they came to a threat was a long-range shot by Pedro which dipped over the bar.
Cardiff’s response was to create their own first opportunity.
Harry Arter’s neat pass let Josh Murphy have a run at Marcos Alonso and when the winger cut inside; his shot curled the wrong side of the far post.
Chelsea was remarkably lacklustre in attack and Marcos Alonso’s tame side-foot effort summed up their drab efforts in the first 45 minutes, highlighting how blunt their attack can appear when Hazard is absent.
Within a minute of the re-start Camarasa gave the home side a shock lead.
A long throw-in by Aron Gunnarsson was only half-cleared by the Chelsea defence, giving the Icelander the time to find Arter.
The midfielder clipped a pass to the unmarked Camarasa who struck a crisp half-volley from 15 yards past a startled Kepa Arrizabalaga in the Chelsea goal.
Sarri’s response was to send on Hazard, just as Chelsea supporters started to chant for their manager to be sacked.
The Belgian was straight into the action as Chelsea looked for their talisman to turn things around.
An increasing desperate Sarri also sent on Loftus-Cheek and then Olivier Giroud.
But there was no introduction of Hudson-Odoi despite his impact for England.
Hazard was unable to impose himself and there was a chorus of “You don’t know what you’re doing” aimed at Sarri as the final whistle loomed.
But with six minutes left, Chelsea finally forced their dubious equaliser as Azpilicueta headed in from Alonso’s flick.
It was the defender’s first goal for almost a year, but it could prove so precious to both Chelsea and Sarri’s future.
That gave Chelsea the confidence to pour forward and Loftus Cheek produced a composed stoppage-time header from Willian’s cross just when Sarri needed it most.
Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock and chief executive Ken Choo will attend Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala’s funeral in his home town on Saturday, the English Premier League club that signed him shortly before his death told AFP.
Their attendance was confirmed by club spokesman Mark Denham in an email on Thursday.
The 28-year-old had signed for Cardiff City and was flying to his new team from his old club Nantes in France when his light aircraft went missing over the Channel on January 21.
The striker’s body was recovered last week but pilot David Ibbotson is still missing. The plane remains under the sea.
Sala’s body is due to be returned to Argentina on Friday, the mayor of his hometown of Progreso had earlier told AFP.
An inquest in England concluded that the footballer died of “head and trunk injuries” and an investigation into the incident is ongoing.
The family of Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala said Friday they could now begin mourning after his body was formally identified following its recovery from a crashed plane in the Channel.
“We can now begin to mourn our son and our brother,” the Argentinian player’s family said in a statement, also thanking everyone involved in the effort to locate the submerged wreckage off Guernsey.
“We would like to thank you for all of your signs of affection and support in the most painful time of our life,” the family said.
“To see everyone doing everything possible to join us in the search has been a precious help to us.”
The family said their thoughts were also with the family of the 59-year-old pilot of the plane, David Ibbotson, whose body has not yet been found, saying “we hope the authorities do everything possible to find him”.
Sala had returned to France to say goodbye to his teammates at Ligue 1 club Nantes and was flying to Wales on January 21 to join up with his new club following his 17-million-euro ($19.3 million) transfer.
The plane, a Piper PA-46 Malibu, vanished from radar around 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Guernsey.
Hopes of finding new Cardiff City striker, Emiliano Sala, alive are slim as British, French and Channel Islands rescuers on Wednesday suspended a second day of searches after the plane he was flying in disappeared at sea.
The Argentine footballer had sent relatives a desperate message shortly before taking off saying the plane looked like it was “going to fall apart”.
Objects have been found in the water, and police on the British island of Guernsey, which sits off the north coast of France, warned there was little chance of finding him.
“A decision about whether to recommence will be taken early Thursday morning,” police said in a statement.
“The water is very cold at the moment, the sea conditions are very rough out there, the wind is very strong,” John Fitzgerald, chief officer of Channel Island Air Search, to AFP.
“I think even the most hardened person out there — they’d have to be really tough to survive those conditions for the length of time that they’d been there.”
The Guernsey coastguard also named the pilot, the only other person in the plane, as David Ibbotson.
British media said he was a 60-year-old married father of three and lived in Scunthorpe in northern England.
Argentine media reported that Sala sent a final message before the plane disappeared from radar around 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Guernsey on Monday night.
“I’m on a plane that looks like it’s going to fall apart, and I’m leaving for Cardiff,” the 28-year-old said in a rambling WhatsApp audio message.
“If in an hour and a half you have no news from me, I don’t know if they will send people to look for me, because they will not find me, you know… I’m so scared,” he added.
The player’s mother, Mercedes, told Argentine television channel C5N that the plane belonged to Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman, but he disputed the claim.
“I can say to you categorically that the plane had nothing to do with Cardiff City,” he said.
Dalman said the club had offered to pay for his flight but Sala had “made his own arrangements”.
“I can’t tell you who arranged the flight because I don’t know.”
Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), which is investigating, said the single-engine Piper PA-46 Malibu plane was registered in the United States.
Fans hold vigil
Sala, who signed with the Premier League club on Saturday from French Ligue 1 club Nantes for a reported fee of 17 million euros ($19.3 million), was due to attend a training session with Cardiff on Tuesday.
In Sala’s Argentine hometown of Progreso, his father Horacio told the press that as “the hours go by and I don’t know anything, it makes me fear the worst”.
Sala, who had been at Nantes since 2015 and had scored 13 goals in all competitions this season, had signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with relegation-threatened Cardiff subject to receiving international clearance.
Cardiff’s executive director Ken Choo said they were all “very shocked” at the news.
“We continue to pray for positive news,” he said.
Cardiff called off Tuesday’s training session, and stunned supporters laid flowers and scarves outside the club’s stadium.
“The excitement of a new signing arriving at your club can bring so much happiness. That’s how we felt about Sala,” said Cardiff fan Josh Thomas, 24.
“He was the one who was going to turn our fortunes around and score the goals that would keep us up. He was going to be the one adored by the fans, including me. But within a few hours so much has changed.”
Argentine football legend Diego Maradona said he was hoping the plane had simply gone astray.
“I hope it went to the wrong airport and we find him alive, that’s all,” he said in an audio message.
Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari, also an Argentinian, said: “We feel great sadness of course and we send all the strength and love in the world to the relatives, close friends, and people that know him.”
“And of course we never lose hope until the end,” he said.
With his former teammates in shock, Nantes have postponed their French Cup tie against third-tier side Entente Sannois Saint-Gratien on Wednesday until Sunday.
Hundreds of fans gathered for a vigil in the western French city on Tuesday, placing flowers, scarves and flags on a fountain and chanting the striker’s name.
“I still have hope, he is a fighter,” Nantes president Waldemar Kita tweeted.
British Premier League club Cardiff City’s record new signing, Argentina-born striker Emiliano Sala, was on board a light aircraft that disappeared over the English Channel on Monday night, police sources told AFP.
Sala, signed by Cardiff on Saturday from French club Nantes for a club record fee, was flying to Cardiff aboard a small plane that went missing around 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of the island of Guernsey.
Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger has admitted that his side will not find it easy to strengthen their grip at the top of the Premier League when they travel to Cardiff on Saturday, November 30.
The London club have enjoyed a strong start to the season, and can extend the gap at the top to 7 points for 24 hours at least, with their main rivals not in action until Sunday.
But Wenger knows that a visit to South Wales won’t be particularly easy, as Cardiff have already beaten Manchester City at home this season, and last weekend produced a late rally to snatch a 2-2 draw against Manchester United.
“They look to have a good solidarity, good togetherness, fantastic support as well, and they are all on the same wavelength in the team, very efficient at home on set pieces especially,” he told reporters at Arsenal’s training ground on Friday.
“Even on Sunday when they were 2-1 down against Man Utd, many teams could have thought ‘Ok, it’s Man Utd, we won’t come back’. You have the feeling that they don’t give up. You could feel that they could come back, so they have that special attitude and belief in the side that makes them dangerous.”
Having been criticised for his transfer dealings in the summer, Wenger believes his team are benefitting from a settled squad. In the previous two summers Wenger lost his two players – Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, and Robin van Persie to Manchester United, but there were no big departures this time around, with the added bonus that Arsenal brought in Mesut Ozil.
“We lost a few great players, one was an exceptional striker and one was an exceptional midfielder,” said Wenger.
“It hurt us twice and hit us twice in a very hard way because we struggled every time, especially at the start of the season, it took us time to come back. This was the first season where we didn’t lose a great player and that is why we have an advantage of a better start. And on top of that we bought a great player. That helped even more.”