Legal proceedings against David Henderson, the “phantom pilot”

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Legal proceedings against David Henderson, the


It was he who had to pilot the plane at the start


The portrait of Emiliano Sala displayed at the gates at La Beaujoire.


© Michel Euler / AP / SIPA
The portrait of Emiliano Sala displayed at the gates at La Beaujoire.


FOOTBALL – He was the one who had to pilot the plane at the start The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said on Thursday it had indicted a man for breaches of air navigation laws in its investigation on the crash that claimed the life of footballer Emiliano Sala in 2019. “The British Civil Aviation Authority has taken legal action against David Henderson for offenses relating to the fatal accident of a light aircraft in the English Channel in January 2019,” said CAA director Richard Stephenson. David Henderson was the one commissioned by the player’s agent, Willie McKay, to originally fly the plane. Before he inexplicably leaves his place to David Ibbotson, who finally took the lead.

According to our information, Henderson’s name appeared in administrative documents the day the plane left, which would have attested to his presence in Nantes. A location that the experienced pilot has always denied, with security cameras showing only two people on the tarmac before takeoff, Ibbotson and Sala. According to Willie McKay’s version, it would be a confusion related to the fact that David Henderson lent his blue card to Dave Ibbotson, to whom he had subcontracted the flight for an unknown reason, the time of his stay in Brittany. The man, who was repeatedly employed by the British agent before the Sala case, never responded to the media.

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Mr. Henderson, 66, who allegedly played the role of intermediary to organize the theft, is accused in particular of having acted “negligently”. He is due in court in Cardiff, Wales on October 26, after a previous British court appearance at the end of September. The man had previously been arrested and then released in June 2019 by Dorset police, who suspected him of “manslaughter”. The police later said they would not pursue the suspect.

“His mother absolutely needs to know the whole truth” about what happened, almost two years after the crash, reacted the firm Hickman and Rose, which represents Mercedes Taffarel. The mother of the missing player is, however, “disappointed” that these prosecutions risk delaying the holding of a public inquiry, whose role in the United Kingdom is to establish facts, but not to pronounce convictions.

The small private plane aboard which the 28-year-old Argentinian player and pilot David Ibbotson were on, crashed in the English Channel on January 21, 2019. The FC Nantes striker was joining Cardiff City club, where he came from ‘to be transferred for 17 million euros. The body of the player, whose disappearance had moved the football world, had been found in the carcass of the device, more than two weeks after the accident, at a depth of 67 meters. The body of the 59-year-old pilot has not been found.

In its final report published last March, the British Aviation Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) estimated that the pilot lost control of the aircraft during a maneuver performed at too high a speed, “probably” intended to avoid bad weather to be able to fly on sight.

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