The pilot of the missing private plane chartered by a football mega-agent for Cardiff striker Emiliano Sala told a friend he was ‘a bit rusty’ with its landing system hours before the doomed flight, it was revealed today.
British pilot David Ibbotson, 60, checked into Nantes Atlantique Airport shortly before take-off after admitting to a friend on Facebook he had approached the runway ‘on the high side’ – but joked, tragically: ‘Better than on the low side’.
Hours later at around 8.30pm on Monday night the plane carrying him and his £15million passenger appears to have crashed into the Channel and both men are missing, presumed dead.
Mr Ibbotson, who was also a gas engineer and wedding DJ, is understood to have flown Sala to Wales when he signed last Friday, back to France on Saturday and was at the controls during the ill-fated final journey back to Britain 48 hours ago.
The plane was chartered by the family of one of Britain’s mega agents – Scottish-born Willie McKay – who had a hand in the £15million deal.
The Monaco resident is not Sala’s representative but his son Mark is said to have helped with brokering the transfer between Cardiff and Nantes as well as his flight from France to Wales.
Mr McKay Sr is one of Britain’s best known football agents and has made millions helping top French stars move to England’s top leagues as well as managing Premier League stars including Joey Barton.
His son Mark has also been involved in a number of high-profile transfers including Dimitri Payet’s £10.7million move to West Ham.
The missing 1984 Piper Malibu aircraft is believed to be owned by an unnamed American who registered it with the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority using Suffolk-based company Southern Aircraft Consultancy.
David Ibbotson, 60, (pictured left in the cockpit) has been named as the pilot at the controls of the privately-owned Piper Malibu aircraft carrying star footballer Emiliano Sala (right)
In Facebook posts in the hours before the doomed flight (pictured), Mr Ibbotson told a friend he was ‘a bit rusty with the ILS (Instrument Landing System)’ and made a tragic joke about not approaching to loo
The family of top football agent Willie McKay are believed to have chartered the plane taking Emiliano Sala to the UK when it vanished. His son Mark has also been involved in a number of high-profile transfers including Dimitri Payet’s £10.7million move to West Ham (together right)
Model Berenice Schkair, 27, made the extraordinary claim on social media after the new Cardiff City star’s plane went missing over the English Channel after taking off in Nantes, France
A member of staff at the firm today refused to identify the individual or company owning the aircraft.
Timeline: How the Sala plane tragedy unfolded
‘The Last Goodbye’: Emiliano Sala posted this photograph on Instagram on Monday, bidding farewell to his old teammates at Nantes Football Club, after he signed a record £15 million contract with Cardiff City. It is believed to be the last photo of him
Friday, January 18: Sala travels to Cardiff to have a medical and discuss personal terms
Saturday, January 19: Cardiff agrees £15m deal with Nantes to sign the player who then flies back to France
Sunday, January 20: Argentinian star goes to say a final goodbye to his former teammates and poses for a poignant final photo (pictured). His pilot checks in at the city’s airport as he waits for him as he collects his belongings.
Monday, January 21: Sala boards flight from Nantes to Cardiff at 7.15pm but it disappears at 8.30pm
Wednesday, January 23: Search and rescue teams say there is ‘no hope’ and reveal operation around Alderney is now a recovery one, not a rescue mission
She told MailOnline: ‘They have asked us not to speak to the press. We don’t have any comment.
‘We don’t have anything to do with the aircraft other than the fact that we registered it for them’.
Cardiff City’s chairman Mehmet Dalman revealed that their new star, just signed for £15million from FC Nantes, turned down a commercial flight from Paris and chose to take a private plane instead.
Today John Fitzgerald, chief officer of Channel Islands Air Search, said there is ‘no hope’ of finding the men because ‘even the most fit person’ would only survive a few hours in the Channel in January.
Revealing the operation is now recovery, not a search for survivors, he said: ‘Sadly, I really don’t think, personally, there is any hope. At this time of year the conditions out there are pretty horrendous if you are actually in the water.’
The pilot missing with footballer Emiliano Sala has today been named as a British father-of-three and gas engineer from Scunthorpe.
David Ibbotson was at the controls of the privately-owned Piper Malibu aircraft believed to have crashed into the sea near Alderney on Monday night.
The pilot, whose nickname is ‘Dibbo’, is married with three children and lives with his wife Nora near Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, and according to his Facebook account he checked into a hotel next to Nantes Airport on Saturday night.
He is an experienced pilot specialising in private flights and parachute expeditions – but also is a qualified gas engineer running his own boiler repair company in North Lincolnshire.
In Facebook posts before the doomed flight, Mr Ibbotson told a friend he was ‘a bit rusty with the ILS (Instrument Landing System)’.
He tagged himself at Nantes Airport on Saturday before telling a friend ahead of his flight on Sunday: ‘Was not to (sic) bad when I got there but I’m a bit rusty with the ils, in France now.’
Today at the family home in Crowle, 10-miles from Scunthorpe, a sobbing woman told the Grimsby Telegraph: ‘We do not wish to give a comment.’
Mr Sala’s heartbroken underwear model ex-girlfriend today blamed the ‘football mafia’ after his plane vanished over the Channel and said: ‘I can’t believe this is an accident’.
Victoria’s Secret star Berenice Schkair, 27, made the extraordinary claim on social media after the new Cardiff City star’s plane went missing over the English Channel after taking off in Nantes, France.
On Twitter last night Berenice tweeted: ‘Investigate the football mafia because I don’t believe this was an accident’ before deleting it.
Lifeboats, helicopters and even locals in fishing boats have been scouring the sea for him – but have had to stop between dusk and dawn.
Posting photographs of them together, she wrote on Instagram: ‘Emi, my heart is broken. I still cannot understand it. I’m destroyed, I feel pain, fear and anger for not being able to do anything. I know you’re strong. We are waiting for you.
‘I want to wake up and all of this to be a lie. Please investigate because I cannot believe this is an accident. Don’t suspend the search for bad weather when you only just found objects floating.
‘The thing I regret most is not having told you that you made me feel like I haven’t felt in a while and I love you. Why does this misfortune happen to such a fascinating man full of projects, hard working, a good person dedicated to his job’.
The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch said today the missing plane is a Piper PA-46-310P Malibu aircraft with the registration N264DB.
This is the plane that Sala and the pilot were in when in vanished over the sea – it appears to be registered to a company in Norfolk
The couple were together for some time – and may have become engaged – before they split last year, sources have said
Berenice tweeted that the ‘football mafia’ should be investigated in a clear claim the crash was deliberate – but later deleted it
The model posted a series of message on Instagram where she said she had not given up hope that her ex would be found alive
When asked by Argentine media outlet Infobae for a comment, she said: ‘The only thing I want is for him to show up. Out of respect for the family I’d prefer to wait, I’m going to say what I need to say in a few days.’
Cardiff City: Sala booked his own flight – not us
Missing soccer star Emiliano Sala booked his own ‘risky’ private flight across the English Channel after turning down a commercial flight from Cardiff City, it was revealed today.
The £15million player was offered a flight from bosses at new club Cardiff City but wanted to make his own travel arrangements from his former club in Nantes.
City chairman Mehmet Dalman (pictured) said they were ‘still praying’ for positive news but are devastated after Sala’s plane disappeared on Monday night.
Sala, 28, was due to join his teammates in South Wales yesterday morning for training but never arrived after his 460-mile journey from Nantes to Cardiff Airport.
The plane disappeared over the Channel Islands and search teams have found no sign of a wreckage or survivors.
But Mr Dalman said Sala the flight on the Piper Malibu plane – which experts described as ‘risky’ – was not booked by the club.
Mr Dalman said: ‘We spoke to the player and asked him if he wanted us to make arrangements for his flight which, quite frankly, would have been commercial. He declined and made his own arrangements.
‘I can’t tell you who arranged the flight because I don’t know at this stage – but it certainly wasn’t Cardiff City.’
He revealed that Cardiff’s hard man manager Neil Warnock was ‘in a state of shock’ after hearing the news.
The model was born in the Tres de Febrero area of the Argentine capital Buenos Aires and is believed to have been going out with the footballer for a few months last year.
Reports in their home country suggest they may even have been engaged before they split up.
Guernsey Police said today they are ‘prioritising’ the theory that the new £15million Cardiff City player and the pilot made it out of the wreckage found floating in the Channel last night.
They are also working on three other possibilities – that the plane was grounded on dry land either in the Channel Islands or France, the pilot and Sala were picked up by a passing ship or they are dead in the water.
It came as aviation experts claimed that the Piper Malibu plane that Sala was travelling in had a ‘questionable’ safety record with 55 fatal crashes including 24 since 2000.
Former pilot Alastair Rosenschein said the plane may have become iced-up in the Arctic blast currently sweeping across northern Europe including the UK and France.
He said: ‘It’s already a fairly risky crossing to do in a single engine aircraft, especially in winter and definitely at night. There are icing problems too. It’s a strange thing to do though to go and fly over water with one engine at night in winter because if your engine goes you’re going in the water’.
French media had reported pilot David Henderson, 60, was flying the missing Piper Malibu PA-46, which disappeared near the Channel Islands on Monday night.
Mr Henderson later took to Facebook to confirm he was alive and well and it is unknown who was flying the missing PA-46.
But in 2015, Mr Henderson appeared in a BBC video about his life as a transatlantic pilot and described the dangers of flying a Piper Malibu.
In fact, Mr Henderson told how he would always wear a neoprene wetsuit and packed a life raft in the back to give him ‘6 or 7 or 8 hours survivability’ in case he ditched into the Atlantic.
He is filmed sitting in the cockpit of a plane – serial number N264DB – the same as that of the missing flight, according to reports on the Aviation Safety Network Wiki page.
According to South Wales Aviation Group that same plane – a 1984 Piper serial number N264DB – took off from Rhoose, near Cardiff, on Saturday destined for Guernsey, presumed to be en route to France.
Speaking to the BBC in 2015, Mr Henderson described the potential problems with the plane.
‘One of the problems we can encounter is that ice can build up on the surfaces of the aircraft,’ Mr Henderson explains.
‘On the propeller and the wings and if it gets too great the aeroplane would ultimately stop flying.
‘And the only way in most of the aeroplanes we fly to get rid of ice is to descend into warmer air and the ice will dissipate’.
Emiliano Sala (pictured on board a plane late last year) sent a WhatsApp recording to his loved-ones on board the small plane just before it vanished over the Channel
His father Horacio and his partner Liliana (left) cling to one another as they wait for news from the Channel – but it is expected to be bad news about Sala (right with his brother Dario, sister Romina and mother Mercedes)
Horacio Sala, the tearful father of Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala, outside his home in Progreso, Argentina
Sala played in France for FC Nantes near the Brittany coast for the past four years and the city is united in grief holding a vigil
Flowers, scraves and shirts flowers were also left around the Fred Keenor statue, where the Sala had just signed a deal to play in the Premier League
Cardiff City announced the signing of the Argentinian striker (pictured with Ken Choo) in a club record fee of £15 million
Emiliano’s father broke down ‘in despair’ today after hearing his son’s final message where he warned he was ‘scared’ on board a ‘plane that seems like it is falling to pieces’ minutes before it vanished over the Channel.
In the chilling recording on Monday night the Argentine footballer, 28, sounds exhausted and can’t stop yawning as he tells loved ones in Spanish they may need to ‘send someone to find me’.
Before the ‘bumpy’ flight began the pilot needed up to four attempts to take-off from Nantes in Brittany at 7.15pm as he prepared to start his new life in Cardiff after a £15million transfer.
In a final WhatsApp audio message sent to his friends, where the sound of the plane’s engine is heard in the background, Sala said: ‘I was over in Nantes sorting things out.
‘I am now aboard a plan that seems like it is falling to pieces. I’m going to Cardiff now, crazy, and tomorrow we get going. I will train with my new team’.
He added: ‘If you do not have any more news from in an hour and a half, I don’t know if they need to send someone to find me. I am getting scared!’
Today coastguard helicopters, lifeboats and Channel Islanders in their own boats will resume their search at dawn after they scoured 1,100 square miles of sea before halting the search at nightfall.
At home in Argentina his family, including father Horacio and mother Mercedes, are clinging to the hope he will be found alive, but more than 36 hours after his disappearance it appears unlikely.
Sala’s father broke down last night as he said he is ‘desperate’ for news and ‘in despair’ while the footballer’s mother said the tragedy involving her son came just as he was ‘enjoying the best moment of his career so far.’
They found nothing but debris and Guernsey Police said the pair’s chances of survival if they ditched in the icy waters were ‘slim’. They warned they are not expecting to find survivors.
Earlier it emerged he told his former Nantes teammate he ‘feared for his safety’ before he took off on his doomed flight across the English Channel.
The Argentinian striker completed a £15 million move to Cardiff City on Saturday. He returned to bid farewell to his old squad at Ligue 1 side Nantes, posting a poignant photo in which his former teammates sport their club’s blue strip, and Sala is wearing a hoodie with the logo: ‘Be good, be nice.’
His Instagram post of the photo bore the caption: ‘The last goodbye’.
Sala was making a round trip in the same plane and when he arrived in France, he reportedly told ex-teammate Nicolas Pallois – who drove him back to Nantes-Atlantiqe airport – that the trip out ‘had been bumpy and he feared his safety for the journey back.’
A French source close to the player said the six-seater plane only got airborne for the return trip after at least three failed attempts to take off from Nantes.
The 28-year-old was due to return to Wales in time for training this morning but the Piper Malibu aircraft he was in lost contact near the Casquets lighthouse off Alderney at 8.30pm on Monday.
Cardiff City chief executive Ken Choo said everyone at the club was ‘very distressed’ and ‘praying for positive news.’
On Tuesday at 5pm Channel Islands rescue teams called off the search for the day. It is expected to resume today at first light.
In a statement Guernsey Police said: ‘During the course of the 15-hour search, which used multiple air and sea assets from the Channel Islands, UK and France, a number of floating objects have been seen in the water.
‘We have been unable to confirm whether any of these are from the missing aircraft.
‘We have found no signs of those on board. If they did land on the water, the chances of survival are at this stage, unfortunately, slim.’
John Fitzgerald, chief officer of the Channel Islands Air Search, said he was not optimistic about finding Sala and the pilot.
He said: ‘I don’t think the coastguard are either. We just don’t know how it disappeared. It just completely vanished. There was no radio conversation’.
Mr Fitzgerald said there could be a ‘five per cent’ chance of finding Sala and the pilot, adding: ‘I think with the sea temperatures and the sea conditions the chances of finding anybody alive are reducing all the time.
‘The sea temperatures are very, very cold and just sap the core temperature of anybody in the water very, very quickly.’
The footballer’s mother, Mercedes Taffarel, said her son was ‘enjoying the best moment of his career so far.’ Sala posted this image of himself with his mother alongside the caption, ‘Thank you mum’
Emiliano Sala and Ken Choo CEO on January 18 in Cardiff as the striker got set to sign his three-and-a-half-year contact
John Fitzgerald, chief officer of the Channel Islands Air Search, said he was not optimistic about finding Sala and the pilot. Pictured left, an RNLI lifeboat searches off Alderney. Right: 1,150 square miles were searched on Tuesday before nightfall
The aircraft left Nantes at 19.15 on Monday headed for Cardiff and was flying at 5,000 feet before it fell off the radar at 2,300ft during a descent cleared with Jersey air traffic controllers
This graphic shows the lifeboat’s path as it circled Alderney during a nearly-24-hour-long search for the aircraft
French police, the French civil aviation authority and Nantes Football Club confirmed that Sala was one of the two people on board the single-prop plane.
The Piper Malibu was flying at 2,300ft and requested descent as it passed Guernsey but was lost off radar as Jersey air traffic control attempted to make contact. It went missing as severe weather warnings about snow and ice were issued across France.
A search which scrambled within minutes of the plane disappearing was called off at 2am on Tuesday morning ‘due to strengthening winds, worsening sea conditions and reducing visibility’ but resumed at 8am, before being halted overnight again at sunset on Tuesday.
Thousands of people have joined vigils in France and in Wales, and have laid wreaths outside Sala’s former club in Nantes, and outside the ground of Cardiff City where he was due to start training on Tuesday morning.
Flowers were laid at the base of the statue of Cardiff City footballer Frederick Charles Keenor outside the stadium
Flowers, scarves, signs and candles have been left outside the Cardiff City ground for missing footballer Emiliano Sala
Welsh daffodils have been laid outside the Cardiff City ground in Wales as the team suspended training today
In Nantes where Sala has played since 2015, the flag of his native Argentina sat side by side with yellow tulips and candles
Nantes fans came to the ground to hold a vigil for their missing former player Emiliano Sala, in the hopes an air and sea rescue mission might still report good news
A fan poses with an edition of France Football with the former Nantes star on the cover, in a vigil for the player
Outside the stadium in Nantes many fans held up Sala’s number 9 shirt. He had returned to bid farewell to his former team mates before starting a new chapter of his career in the UK
Supporters proudly held flags and shirts, and laid yellow tulips as they paid tribute to Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala
Tearful fans held scarves and candles tonight in Nantes as the Channel Islands called off their S&R mission overnight when darkness fell. It is due to start again on Wednesday morning but officials said hopes of survival in the cold water were ‘slim’
Sala, pictured with Bluebirds CEO Ken Choo, became the club’s record signing last week after joining for a fee of £15m. Cardiff released this image of Sala posing with Choo on Saturday as he was given a private tour of their facilities
This morning the official Nantes FC Twitter account posted a statement and a message to their followers about the missing striker, reading: ‘The management and the whole Club are hopeful and it is the whole family of FC Nantes who prays that @EmilianoSala1 and the other passengers of the plane are finally found safe and sound.’
‘FC Nantes joins the call of supporters for the rally tonight from 6.30 pm at the Royal Place in Nantes to drop a yellow tulip at the foot of the fountain,’ they added in a second tweet.
The club later changed its profile picture to a photo of Sala.
Sala’s former teammate, French Guingamp midfielder Lucas Deaux, tweeted: ‘I hope from the bottom of my heart that this is not true.’
Sala was ‘fulfilling the dream of a lifetime’ by moving to the UK, and ‘could not wait to start playing in Cardiff’, according to a friend in France.
When he left the grounds yesterday to head to Cardiff, Nantes FC tweeted: ‘Merci Emi, forever yellow and green.’
After joining Cardiff on Saturday, Sala’s sister Romina proudly shared the news story about his signing, saying: ‘Big brother :D’.
His father Horacio told Argentine channel C5N he was made aware of the news by a friend.
He said: ‘A friend called me and told me what had happened. I’m in Rosario now, I’m working because I’m a truck driver. I didn’t know anything. I just can’t believe it. I’m desperate. I don’t know what could have happened.’
He said striker Emiliano, from the small town of Progreso in Argentina’s northeastern Santa Fe province, had been excited to be moving to Cardiff and playing in the Premier League.
He added: ‘To get the chance to play at a big European club was an amazing step for him and for his town back home. He is a humble small town boy. Everybody is watching the TV and waiting. Hopefully some good news arrives.’
His mother, Mercedes Taffarel, told the same TV station: ‘We don’t have any more news. The only thing I know is that the plane took off and they are searching for it, we don’t know anything yet, they haven’t found anything.
‘We are just here waiting, minute after minute. I spoke to him a few hours before he took off. I don’t know what else to say, I’m so worried.
‘They called me from France to tell me that his plane had gone missing and they were looking for him.
‘We are in constant communication and desperate for good news. He was very happy and content with the transfer. He was enjoying the best moment of his career so far.
‘He would come over often to visit us, and we would go to visit him there. He was alone, he didn’t have any family members with him in France.’
70 years of tragic football crashes
The disappearance of Emiliano Sala’s plane on Monday night is the latest air accident involving football teams and club owners.
In May 1949, 18 Torino players and five club officials died when their plane crashed as it made its approach to Turin airport.
Eight Manchester United players and three club officials died when an aircraft carrying the ‘Busby Babes’ crashed in icy conditions at Munich airport on February 6, 1958.
Eight Danish Olympic football trialists were killed in a plane crash in Copenhagen in July 1960, and in October 1996, Chelsea vice-chairman Matthew Harding, 42, died in a helicopter crash in Cheshire.
In November 2016, 19 players from Brazilian team Chapecoense died when their plane crashed in Colombia on the way to the Copa Sudamericana finals. Three players survived.
In October last year, Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the pilot and three other passengers were killed when their helicopter crashed shortly after taking off from the pitch at King Power Stadium in Leicester.
The Premier League club had signed Sala on a three-and-a-half-year contact on Saturday.
Nantes announced their French Cup match due to be staged on Tuesday night against L’Entente Sannois Saint-Gratien had been postponed in agreement with the French Football Federation.
Amine Harit, a Moroccan footballer who played with Sala at Nantes before joining German side FC Schalke in 2017, tweeted ‘Emi..’ followed by a string of praying hands and crying emojis.
Nantes forward Randal Kolo-Muani retweeted Harit’s message on his personal account.
Sala is understood to be very close to his family in Argentina, and spoke to his mother who still lives there ‘most days’, but still believed his destiny was in Britain.
‘He’s in touch with his family all the time, mainly on WhatsApp,’ a Brittany-based source said.
‘His mum often visits, along with his brother and sister. He’s very loyal to them all, as he is to everybody.
‘The English Premiership was his dream, though. Emiliano is also very religious. He prays a lot. His Catholic faith is very important to him.’
Speaking on TV channel CNEWS, Nantes President Waldemar Kita said today: ‘I think that he came back because he wanted to say goodbye to his friends.
‘He was a polite, kind and adorable boy, loved by everyone. He was very respectful, very courteous.
‘I am thinking about his family and all his friends. For the rest, we don’t know yet.
‘I am still hoping that it is not finished, that he is somewhere, that he will be there. I have just found about this.
‘I was not even aware that he was at Nantes. He is no longer owned by Nantes, he does what he wants.
‘And I say that because I am still hopeful that we will find him.’
The official Nantes FC Twitter account posted a statement and a message to their followers about the missing striker before changing its profile picture to a photo of him
Sala regularly entertained fans with social media posts from his training sessions, and enjoying time off with his teammates
Emiliano Sala with his sister Romina Sala, brother Dario Sala, and mother Mercedes Taffarel
Sala with his brother and sister. His family remain in Argentina, desperately awaiting updates
Sala posted this picture on Instagram two days ago – one day after he signed his new deal – alongside the caption, ‘There is a new Sala in town @premierleague. Very happy to sign here @cardiffcityfc !! I know the challenge is big but together we will make it. Impatient to discover the league & the team #BlueBirds’
Sala had celebrated his 28th birthday in October last year, and posted this photo on Twitter alongside his mother, thanking people for their messages
Sala was grew up in Progeso, an Argentine town with only 3000 inhabitants in Santa Fe province, in the centre east of the country.
‘As a kid, I watched a lot of the English championship on TV,’ he said in a recent interview in France.
Referring to two retired French players, Sala said: ‘I liked Arsenal, with Thierry Henry and Robert Pires.’
Sala has a younger brother, an electrician, and a sister, who is a care worker, both in Argentina.
He left home when he was 15 to become a professional footballer, but is immensely loyal to his roots.
Sala could have been set to make his debut at the Emirates against Arsenal on January 29.
Speaking on Saturday after signing for the Bluebirds, Sala said: ‘I can’t wait to start training, meet my new team-mates and get down to work.’
Also, speaking at the time of the unveiling, CEO & Executive Director, Ken Choo, added: ‘It’s obviously been a long process to secure the services of Emiliano, but I’m very pleased that we’re now in a position whereby we can confirm his signature and officially announce him as a Cardiff City player.
‘We see Emiliano as a significant acquisition and welcome him wholeheartedly to the Capital city of Wales. I’m sure all Cardiff City fans will join me in that and we can look forward to seeing our record signing in a Bluebirds shirt.’
Before switching to Cardiff, Sala was the third highest scorer in Ligue 1 this season with 12 goals, behind only Kylian Mbappe and Nicolas Pepe.
A Piper FA-46 Malibu light aircraft similar to the plane Sala described as sounding like it was ‘falling to pieces’ last night
Sala left Nantes to travel to Cardiff last night. The 28-year-old (pictured left and right in 2014), could have been set to make his debut at the Emirates against Arsenal on January 29
Emiliano Sala and Paris Saint-Germain forward, Kylian M’bappe are pictured during a game in the French Ligue 1
Troubling safety record of the Piper PA-46 Malibu
There is no information on what may have caused this plane to disappear off radar last night.
But the aircraft – a single-prop Piper PA-46 Malibu with room for a pilot and up to five passengers – was once made the subject of a special advisory notice, an ‘airworthiness directive’ issued by US air authorities after a spate of fatal accidents. The AD, which imposed operational limitations, was later lifted.
In 1992 the USA’s National Transportation Safety Board published a Special Investigation report after Piper PA-46 series Mallibu and Mirage airplanes were involved in seven fatal accidents in the United States, Mexico, and Japan in less than two years from May 1989 to March 1991.
Between its launch in 1983, and 2008, the Malibu and its derivatives were involved in 12 crashes in which the airplane came apart in midair, killing everyone aboard. (Around 1,000 of the airplanes were built in this period.) The structural failures are accompanied by a long list of other crashes involving PA-46s.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there have been a total of 165 serious PA-46 crashes, a rate of more than 16 per cent. These other crashes have been attributed to everything from engine failure to pilot error.
In 1990, the National Transportation Safety Board investigated the crashes to determine whether the Malibu was airworthy. Despite the high number of similar crashes, the NTSB concluded that there was nothing wrong with the Malibu’s design or construction. Instead, they pinned the accidents on a combination of pilot error and omissions in the airplane’s operating manual.
He said at the time: ‘For me it feels special [to be the Club’s record signing]. I have come here wanting to work and to help my teammates and the Club. I can’t wait to get to work straight away and do everything I can.’
Speaking earlier today, Mr Fitzgerald said the plane could have glided for around five or six miles without a working engine.
‘I am sure something will be found eventually. The plane was flying at 2,000ft when it dropped off the radar so it could have flown for about five or six miles before touching down.
‘But whether it was a controlled ditching or if it dived in, we just do not know.
‘If it was a controlled ditching, you would expect to find a life-raft but if it was uncontrolled I expect an oil slick and wreckage may be found.’
No decision on which country will investigate the disappearance of the aircraft carrying footballer Emiliano Sala has been announced.
Under global aviation guidelines, initial responsibility for an accident lies with the state where it occurred.
If a crash happens in international waters then the country where an aircraft is registered takes the primary role.
However, states often delegate responsibility if an accident happens far from their territory.
That means the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is likely to have some role in the inquiry into what happened to the aircraft which went missing over the Channel. An AAIB spokesman said: ‘We are liaising with the relevant authorities.’
Cardiff signed the forward in a deal reportedly worth in the region of £15million, breaking the previous record of £11million paid for Gary Medel in 2013. Sala is pictured here signing his contract on Saturday
The lighthouse on the Casquets rocks, off the coast of Alderney in the Channel Islands
Sala regularly posts photographs of his family on social media, including this one with his mother (left), which he captioned ‘Thank you, mum’. He is pictured with his mother, right, and his electrician brother and sister, who works in a care home
The plane lost contact near the Casquets lighthouse off the coast of Alderney
The striker often posted photos and videos with his beloved pet dog on his social media accounts
Not just talented on the pitch, Sala also showed off his musical ability as he posed with his guitar
Sala (far right) poses on the beach with his friends as he soaks up the rays in September 2018
Last year, Leicester City’s billionaire owner and four others were killed in a helicopter crash outside the club’s grounds.
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s aircraft was seen spiralling through the sky and into the ground shortly after taking off from the King Power Stadium last October.
Pilot Eric Swaffer and his co-pilot Izabela Lechowicz, who was also his girlfriend, prevented greater loss of life by steering the doomed craft away from crowds of fans.
They died alongside Kaveporn Punpare, an assistant to Mr Srivaddhanaprabha and his colleague Nusara Suknamai, a former beauty queen who worked for the billionaire.
‘Not the day for this tweet. It really isn’t’: Gary Lineker slams Cristiano Ronaldo for posting grinning private jet selfie hours after Cardiff City plane tragedy
A smiling selfie taken on a private jet by Cristiano Ronaldo has been criticised by Gary Lineker who called it insensitive because Emiliano Sala’s plane had vanished hours earlier.
Sala is missing and presumed dead after the plane taking him to Cardiff from Nantes in France went down over the Channel Islands on Monday night.
Yesterday Ronaldo tweeted a triumphant thumbs up photo as he left Madrid for Turin after accepting a huge fine and suspended jail sentence for tax fraud, having struck a deal with Spanish prosecutors.
But former England captain and BBC pundit Gary Lineker replied ‘Not the day for this tweet. It really isn’t’ – in a clear reference to the Sala tragedy.
Mr Lineker’s tweet has split opinion with some backing his insensitivity claim with others saying Ronaldo would have had no idea about the tragedy in Channel.
Juventus footballer Cristiano Ronaldo posted a selfie – in fact, a photograph of himself taking a selfie – from his jet after leaving court in Madrid
Gary Lineker’s rebuke to the Portuguese international garnered nearly 30,000 likes in just a few hours, on the day football fans in France and Wales laid flowers and held candlelit vigils for missing Cardiff City player Emiliano Sala, whose single-prop light aircraft went missing on Monday evening
Sala and his pilot last made contact from their Piper FA-46 Malibu just off Alderney at 8.30pm on Monday. Today coastguard helicopters and lifeboats scoured 1,100 square miles of sea before halting the search at nightfall. They found nothing but debris and Guernsey Police said the pair’s chances of survival if they ditched in the icy waters were ‘slim’. They warned they are not expecting to find survivors.
In a Whatsapp audio note recorded on the doomed flight, Sala told friends he was ‘aboard a plan that seems like it is falling to pieces’ before going on to say ‘I am getting scared.’
Ronaldo, 33, who plays for Portugal and Juventus, will pay a total of 18.8million euros (£16.5million) after pleading guilty at a hearing in Madrid this morning. As he left the court he told the crowds ‘Everything’s perfect!’
Ronaldo, who went to court with his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez, also received a 23-month prison sentence which was immediately reduced to a further fine, and he will not spend a day in jail.
His former Real Madrid team-mate Xabi Alonso is also in court on a separate tax evasion charge, which could lead to a five-year sentence that – unlike Ronaldo – may see him behind bars if he is found guilty.
Smiling all the way: Cristiano Ronaldo arrives at court in Madrid with his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez today. He accepted a hefty fine for tax fraud during his time as a Real Madrid player
Day in court: Cristiano Ronaldo arrives at the Madrid court this morning where he accepted the deal with Spanish prosecutors over the tax fraud charges against him
Xabi Alonso, who played with Ronaldo at Real Madrid and also had spells at Liverpool and Bayern Munich, arrives for his tax evasion trial in the Spanish capital today
Ronaldo, who left Madrid last summer to join Juventus, wore a black jacket with buttons, white trainers and dark sunglasses as he arrived at court with his girlfriend.
Ronaldo’s lawyers had asked that he be allowed to enter the building by car to avoid the media spotlight.
But the court president refused the request, saying that despite his ‘great fame’, he would not ‘compromise security’ at the building.
The former Manchester United forward’s request to appear via video conference was also denied, so he walked up the court steps today and even signed autographs.
The court appearance lasted around 40 minutes as the deal was officially presented to the judge, who confirmed the final sentence later on Tuesday.
Emiliano Sala: How Premier League clubs were desperate to get their hands on the Argentinian hotshot who was beating Lionel Messi in goal charts
Sala was born in Santa Fe, the Argentine province where Lionel Messi was born, and began his football career for Proyecto Crecer in Córdoba.
The club was directly affiliated with French side FC Girondins de Bordeaux so Sala moved to Europe to sign for the club at the age of 20 and made his debut for them in February 2012 in a cup tie against Lyon.
The 6ft2ins forward then spent the whole 2012-13 season on loan at Championnat National outfit US Orléans, where he scored 19 goals in 37 domestic league appearances.
The following season he spent on loan at Ligue 2 club Chamois Niortais where he scored a further 20 goals in 40 games in all competitions.
After playing the first half of the 2014-15 season for Bordeaux, where his overall record was one goal in 12 appearances, Sala was then loaned to another Ligue 1 club SM Caen for the second half where he scored five goals in 13 appearances.
But it was following a move to Nantes in the summer of 2015 for a reported one million euros where Sala really began to make a name for himself.
He spent four successful seasons at the club where he notched up 48 goals in 130 games – including 12 league goals in 19 appearances this season – to earn himself a move to the Premier League, becoming Cardiff City’s record signing.
His overall career record to date stands at 93 goals in 232 appearances.
Premier League side Cardiff had been keeping close tabs on Sala throughout the current campaign and this season’s record of 12 goals in 19 Ligue 1 games prompted the Bluebirds spend big money on the Argentine.
In November, Sala was outscoring Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi in the goal charts but still remained uncapped by Argentina.
With 10 goals for the season Sala was his country’s most prolific striker ahead of fellow countrymen Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Mauro Icardi.
Manager Neil Warnock personally went to watch Sala in action on December 5 and saw the Premier League new boy score in the 30th minute.
Cardiff were not the only Premier League club tracking Sala as Leicester, Burnley, West Ham and Everton all expressed an interest in the highly coveted marksman.
The Premier League strugglers signed Sala on a three-and-a-half-year contact on Saturday.
Before agreeing to move to Wales, Sala had played his entire professional career in France.
He started his career at Bordeaux where he progressed through the ranks after originally joining their youth team in 2010.