Air Accident Investigation Branch has revealed that Emiliano Sala and his pilot David Ibbotson were exposed to a harmful level of carbon monoxide in the cockpit of their private plane when it crashed.
The accident happened in the English Channel on January 21st after the late footballer had signed for Premier League side Cardiff City from Nantes. And now AAIB states that tests on the Sala’s body had enough proof of the harmful gas to cause a heart attack, seizure or unconsciousness. The report also claims that it is likely the pilot was also affected to some extent’ by the exposure to carbon monoxide. The Branch reports that the gas can ‘reduce or inhibit a pilot’s ability to fly an aircraft depending on the level of the exposure.
“A COHb level of more than 50% in an otherwise healthy person is generally considered to be potentially fatal,” said the head of air accidents for the AAIB Geraint Herbert.
"Symptoms at low exposure levels [to carbon monoxide] can be drowsiness and dizziness, but as the exposure level increases, it can lead to unconsciousness and death. The investigation continues to look into a wide range of areas in relation to this accident, but in particular, we are looking at the potential ways in which carbon monoxide can enter the cabin in this type of aircraft."
Sala had signed for Cardiff on January 19th for a reported fee of £15m and met his death two days later after returning to Nantes to say goodbye to his former teammates.