LONDON (AP) — Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala and his pilot were exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide before their small plane crashed in the English Channel, killing them both, British accident investigators said Wednesday.
A single-engine Piper Malibu aircraft carrying Sala and pilot David Ibbotson crashed near the Channel Island of Guernsey on Jan. 21. Sala, who had played for French club Nantes, was traveling to join his new team, Cardiff City, in Wales.
The body of the 28-year-old footballer was recovered from the wreckage two weeks later. Ibbotson’s body has not been found.
The Air Accident Investigations Branch said toxicology tests found “a high saturation level of COHb (the combination product of carbon monoxide and hemoglobin)” in Sala’s blood.
It said the level was 58%, above the 50% “generally considered to be potentially fatal” in a healthy individual. Carbon monoxide above that level can cause seizures, loss of consciousness and heart attacks, investigators said in an interim report.