New book in sensational claim that Emiliano Sala crash pilot David Ibbotson could have jumped out of plane

A Doncaster area pilot who was at the controls of a plane which crashed into the English Channel killing footballer Emiliano Sala could have jumped from the aircraft, a new book has sensationally claimed.

Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 7:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 8:31 am

David Ibbotson, from Crowle, was flying the Piper Malibu from France to Wales last January with new Cardiff City striker Sala on board when the plane disappeared north of Guernsey.

While the footballer’s body was discovered after an extensive search, along with wreckage of the plane, Mr Ibbotson’s body was never found.

Now author Harry Harris has claimed in his new book The Killing of Emiliano Sala, that Mr Ibbotson may have escaped from the plane before it crashed.

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David Ibbotson.
David Ibbotson.

According to The Mirror, in the book, Mr Harris writes: "How is it that if David Ibbotson had one outstanding skill, it was as a skydiver?

"And why was the pilot not in the plane when the privately funded salvage operation discovered (Mr Sala's) body?

"Was the pilot able to eject before it plummeted to its fate? If the pilot survived, where is he? If he didn't, where is his body?"

The flight on January 21 last year was arranged so Sala could say farewell to his Nantes team mates before joining his new club Cardiff.

A special bulletin released by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch in August strongly suggested that both Mr Ibbotson and Mr Sala had been seriously affected by carbon monoxide poisoning and may have been incapacitated and possibly unconscious when the accident happened.

After the recovery of Mr Sala's body, the official search was called off and efforts to recover the wreckage were brought to an end.

A new search for Mr Ibbotson's body was carried out after an online appeal by his grieving family raised almost £250,000 but despite the efforts of divers and a helicopter crew, no new answers were yielded.

Last year, Cardiff were ordered to pay £5.3m to Nantes, the first part of the footballer’s £15m transfer deal.

The book, which is being serialised in The Sun, is due to be released later this month.