CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — The businessman who organized the flight that resulted in the death of Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Friday.
David Henderson was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court, having already been found guilty by a majority verdict of endangering the safety of an aircraft. He had previously admitted to a separate offense of attempting to discharge a passenger without valid permission or authorization.
Sala died when the single-engine Piper Malibu aircraft in which he was traveling crashed in the English Channel on Jan. 21, 2019. Sala, who had played for French club Nantes, was flying to join his new team, Cardiff, in Wales.
The body of the pilot, David Ibbotson, was never recovered.
Henderson was the aircraft operator who arranged the flight. He had asked Ibbotson to fly the plane because the businessman was on vacation.
Ibbotson, who regularly flew for Henderson, did not hold a commercial pilot’s license or a qualification to fly at night, and his rating to fly the Piper Malibu had expired.
Henderson’s wife wept in court as Mr. Justice Foxton sentenced her husband to 18 months in prison for endangering an aircraft, with a three-month sentence — running concurrently — for attempting to discharge a passenger.
Henderson’s legal team is considering an appeal.
An inquest into Sala’s death is to be held next year.
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