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Dublin: 7°C Thursday 25 February 2021

Emiliano Sala exposed to harmful levels of carbon monoxide before plane crash, investigators say

A report shows he had a saturation level of 58% – a level that could cause seizure and unconsciousness.

Image: PA Wire/PA Images

FOOTBALLER EMILIANO SALA was exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide before his death in a plane crash over the English Channel earlier this year, a report by air accident investigators has revealed

28-year-old Sala died when a plane carrying him and pilot David Ibbotson came down in the Channel on 21 January, just days after he had joined Cardiff City from French club Nantes. 

A report released by the Air Accidents Investigations Branch in the UK today showed that Sala had a carbon monoxide saturation level of 58% – a level that could result in seizure, heart attack and unconsciousness. 

It’s likely the pilot, whose body has never been found, was also exposed to high levels of the colourless, odourless gas which is produced from the incomplete combustion of carbon-containing materials, investigators said. 

“Symptoms at low exposure levels can be drowsiness and dizziness, but as the exposure level increases it can lead to unconsciousness and death,” Geraint Herbert of the AAIB said. 

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 been Cardiff’s record signing after a fee of £15 million was agreed with Nantes during the January transfer window.

After travelling to Wales to complete the deal, the player returned to northern France to collect belongings and bid farewell to his teammates.

It was on his return to the Welsh capital to take part in his first training session that the tragedy occurred.

Initial search operations for the player and pilot were suspended in the days after the plane went missing.

However, a crowdfunding effort supported by thousands of donations helped launch a private search which saw his body recovered from the wreckage in February.

Includes reporting from © – AFP 2019. Comments are closed as a related matter is before the courts. 

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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