A British pilot has been arrested over the deaths of Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala and the friend he drafted in at the 11th hour to fly the plane that plunged into the English Channel.
Dorset Police have held David Henderson, 64, from York, on suspicion of manslaughter by an unlawful act following the doomed flight from Nantes to Cardiff on January 21 this year.
The plane containing Mr Sala’s body was found on February 4 – 220ft down on the seabed off Alderney – but the pilot David Ibbotson has never been located.
Mr Henderson had been asked by British football ‘super agent’ Willie McKay to take Sala, 28, to Wales after he completed his £15million transfer to the Premier League.
But he then allegedly drafted in Mr Ibbotson, a boiler engineer and part-time pilot from Lincolnshire who was not qualified to carry paying passengers and should not have been flying at night or in bad weather.
Mr Henderson had been feared dead after the flight plan for the doomed plane lodged with the French authorities named him as the pilot.
The father-of-two was then forced to post a Facebook message the next day stating that rumours of his death were untrue and his friend had taken the controls instead.
Detective Inspector Simon Huxter, of Dorset Police, the force leading the investigation because it is where Mr Sala’s body was brought ashore, said last night: ‘We have carried out a wide-ranging investigation into the circumstances of the death of Mr Sala and continue to work with partner agencies including the Civil Aviation Authority.
‘As part of this investigation we have to consider whether there is any evidence of any suspected criminality and as a result of our inquiries we have arrested a 64-year-old man from the North Yorkshire area on suspicion of manslaughter by an unlawful act.’
Mr Henderson was arrested yesterday by Dorset Police and has since been released from custody and is under investigation.