The organizer of the 2019 flight that crashed and killed footballer Emiliano Sala was found guilty

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The businessman who organized the 2019 flight that crashed, killing Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala, was convicted Thursday of endangering the safety of an aircraft.

David Henderson, 67, was convicted of a 10-2 majority verdict in the player’s death by a jury at Cardiff Crown Court.

The plane carrying Sala, 28, crashed into the English Channel in January 2019, killing 59-year-old forward and pilot David Ibbotson.

Sala had signed for Cardiff City, then in the Premier League, for a club record of £ 15 million (€ 18 million, $ 20 million) from the French side of Nantes.

The jury of seven men and five women took seven and a half hours to convict Henderson, the aircraft operator, who according to the trial had arranged the flight with soccer agent William “Willie” McKay.

He had asked Ibbotson to fly the plane as he was on vacation with his wife in Paris.

Ibbotson, who flew regularly for him, did not have a commercial pilot’s license, a night flying qualification, and his qualification to fly the single-engine Piper Malibu had expired.

The jury heard how, moments after discovering that the plane had crashed, Henderson sent a text message to several people telling them to remain silent, warning them that they would “open a can of worms.”

The former RAF officer admitted in court that he feared an investigation into his businesses.

Henderson had already admitted to a separate offense of attempting to unload a passenger without a valid permit or authorization.

The judge granted Henderson bail to be re-sentenced for both crimes on November 12.

He faces maximum sentences of five years in prison for endangering the aircraft and two years for the lesser charge.


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