Key events surrounding the death of Emiliano Sala

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) will publish its final report into the plane crash that killed footballer Emiliano Sala on Friday.

Here is a timeline of key events.

– January 19 2019

Emiliano Sala signs for Cardiff City from French club Nantes for £15 million.

– January 20

Pilot David Ibbotson, 59, flies Sala from Cardiff to Nantes so he can say goodbye to his former teammates and collect his belongings.

– January 21

Their return flight takes off from Nantes at 7.15pm. An air and sea search is launched at 8.50pm after the plane disappears from radar over the Channel.

– January 22

After more than 24 hours of continuous searching – including by three planes, five helicopters and two lifeboats – the search is officially called off.

Emiliano Sala tributes
Hundreds of tributes to Emiliano Sala were left outside Cardiff City Stadium (PA)

– January 26

It emerges that football agent Willie McKay arranged for the flight to take Sala to Cardiff but he says he had no involvement in selecting the plane or pilot. He also backs calls for the search to continue.

– February 3

Wreckage of the plane is located during a fresh, privately funded search which was made possible after a fundraising campaign saw more than £260,000 donated.

– February 6

A body seen in the wreckage of the plane is recovered.

Attempts to recover the wreckage fail due to poor weather conditions.

Seat cushion
Seat cushions from a plane were found on a beach at Surtainville, France (Josette Bernard/AP)

– February 25

An interim report by the AAIB states that Mr Ibbotson was not licensed to conduct commercial flights.

– June 19

A 64-year-old man from the North Yorkshire area is arrested on suspicion of manslaughter by an unlawful act.

He was later released under investigation.

Emiliano Sala plane
The wreckage of the plane was discovered in the English Channel, with one body visible inside (AAIB/PA)

– August 14

An interim report by the AAIB states that Sala was exposed to harmful levels of carbon monoxide before he was killed, and it is likely Mr Ibbotson was also affected.

– September 23

CCTV company director Sherry Bray, 49, and her employee Christopher Ashford, 62, are jailed for illegally accessing mortuary security camera images of Sala’s body.

– November 6

A pre-inquest review hearing is told the wreckage has washed away.

– March 11 2020

Dorset Police announce that no further action will be taken against the 64-year-old manslaughter suspect.

– March 13

The AAIB publishes its final report into the crash.

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