According to recordings obtained by the BBC, the pilot of the jet that crashed into the English Channel and killed Emiliano Sala of Argentina had previously complained that the aircraft was “dodgy.”
In 2019, while flying from Nantes, in northwest France, to Cardiff, in a single-engine Piper Malibu aircraft, Sala, 28, and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, perished.
A coroner’s inquest found in March that the unlicensed flight’s defective exhaust system caused the football player to inhale lethal levels of carbon monoxide.
According to the BBC, Ibbotson told a different pilot over the phone that “they’ve entrusted me to pick him (Sala) up in a dodgy Mirage.”
“Normally I’d have my life jacket in between the seats, tomorrow we’re wearing the life jacket, that’s for sure.”
The attacker Emiliano Sala has left Nantes to join Premier League-bound Cardiff City for a club-record £15 million (17 million euros, $17 million).
Ibbotson said in the message that the plane’s left brake wasn’t functioning and that he had previously heard a bang while piloting it.
“This aircraft has got to go back in the hangar,” he told his friend.
The football player also admitted to being worried in a voice message he made to pals, telling them that the plane “looks like it’s falling apart” and that he was “afraid.”
Following a criminal trial in November of last year, the flight’s organizer, David Henderson, 67, was given an 18-month prison term for hiring an incompetent pilot and carrying a passenger without a legal license.
Cardiff’s appeal to avoid having to pay Nantes six million euros as the first installment of Emiliano Sala’s transfer price was denied by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in August.