Pilot Emiliano Sala said the plane was “elusive” before its fatal crash

Before Emiliano Sala’s flight took off from a French runway on January 21, 2019, the Argentine soccer player sent an audio message to his friends, saying he was “scared”. Joining Cardiff, Wales, where he was going to start a new chapter in his career, Sala told friends that the plane he was on looked like it was “on the verge of crashing”.

Now, a newly released recording shows his pilot had similar concerns. Prior to the flight, David Ibbotson told a friend in a phone call that the plane he was about to fly across the English Channel was “elusive,” according to him. The audio obtained by the BBC.

About an hour after leaving the single-engine Piper Malibu, it fell off the radar, prompting an intense search for the soccer player and pilot. About two weeks later, the wreckage of the plane was found at the bottom of the English Channel with Sala’s body inside. Ibbotson was not found.

The new audio shows Ibbotson worried about whether the plane was safe to fly after flying the plane on the January 19, 2019 flight with Sala to western France so the footballer could say goodbye to his former teammates. The BBC described the tape as a January 20 phone conversation between Ibbotson and a friend – fellow pilot Kevin Jones – that was “accidentally recorded”.

In the phone call, Ibbotson described what he found very worrying about the January 19 flight. For starters, Ibbotson said he heard a “bang” that was cause for concern, according to the recording.

“I fly along and then bubble. I thought, “What’s wrong?” “So I applied everything and checked my standards, everything was fine and still flying, but it caught your eye,” Ibbotson said during the taped phone call.

Ibbotson also said he will take precautions on the upcoming January 21 flight with Sala, saying that while he kept a life jacket between the seats, he planned to wear it.

Ibbotson was not originally supposed to travel to Sala. David Henderson, a commercial pilot, was hired for this job, but he was vacationing in Paris with his wife and asked Ibbotson to intervene, BBC mentioned.

So, on January 21, around 7:15 p.m., Ibbotson left with Sala, despite rainy conditions and clouds ahead, according to a newspaper. Incident Report Released in March 2020 by the UK Air Accident Investigation Branch. It found that after about an hour, Ibbotson lost control of the plane while trying to avoid bad weather. It also found that dangerous levels of carbon monoxide entered the cabin, which could affect the capabilities of the pilot and likely made Sala “severely unconscious” during the accident.

As Ibbotson tried to regain control of the plane, the wings failed, and the plane plunged into the water at an estimated speed of 270 miles per hour, according to the report. About two weeks later, the wreck was Found 220 feet below the surface of the English Channel Off the coast of Guernsey, an island near Normandy. A body, later identified as Sala’s, was found inside the wrecked plane.

football world Sadnes. Investigation began. And Henderson, the man accused of preparing the doomed January 21 flight, was so Rule up to 18 months in prison.

Investigators found that Ibbotson had noticed problems with the 35-year-old plane on the January 19 flight, including an “explosion,” fog that traveled through the airframe, loss of brake pedal pressure and an “acoustic warning” that sounded in the last 10 minutes of the flight. The flight, which he disrupted after landing.

These issues were not fully addressed before January 21st. A mechanic checked the brake problem after the January 19 flight, but “there was no evidence that an engineer checked any of the other defects before the aircraft left on the accident flight,” the report states. It also found that Ibbotson was not authorized to operate the aircraft, and was not allowed to fly at night. The aircraft was also not licensed to operate commercially.

Before the collapse, Cardiff City Football Club acquired Sala, the striker, from FC Nantes for approximately $20 million, then Biggest spend in team history. And in the years that followed, the two teams clashed over whether Cardiff was obligated to pay that money. in late August, According to the BBCIt has been ruled that Cardiff must pay the first installment.

Cindy Buren and Des Beller contributed to this report.