North Lincolnshire

Pilot and football star ‘poisoned by carbon monoxide’ before fatal crash

A Lincolnshire pilot who was flying an upcoming football star across the English channel was poisoned by toxic levels of carbon monoxide, crash investigators have found.

David Ibbotson, from Crowle, was flying Cardiff City’s new signing Emiliano Sala to the club before the plane crashed earlier this year.

Crash investigators have carried out toxicology tests which have found a high level of carbon monoxide in Sala’s body, which was recovered in February.

The pilot’s body has still not been recovered but the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) said in a report that he was also likely exposed to carbon monoxide.

It also said that piston engines produce high concentrations of the poison which can leak into the cabin through poor sealing or through the ventilation system.

Any level of carbon monoxide in the blood above 50% is generally considered to be fatal. Emiliano Sala’s body had 58%.

Those levels of carbon monoxide can lead to seizure, unconsciousness and heart attack.