Family demand Sala plane is salvaged after potentially fatal carbon monoxide levels

Wreckage was found on the seabed 30 metres from where final radar readings located it at an altitude of 1,600ft (488m), suggesting it had dropped almost vertically in its final moments, the interim report found.About 15 minutes before the crash took place at 8.16pm on Jan 21, an air traffic controller had asked Ibbotson, a part-time gas engineer, whether he needed to drop further in altitude, apparently to avoid cloud and maintain vision.The pilot replied: “Negative, just avoided a patch there, but back on heading five thousand feet.”The plane then “climbed rapidly” to about 2,300 ft before it crashed into the sea breaking into three pieces at around 8.16pm on Jan 21.The aircraft, which was built in 1984, has papers held by a company based in Norfolk, Southern Aircraft Consultancy.Ibbotson, who had previously written on Facebook that he was “rusty”, had reportedly filled out forms incorrectly before take off. On one, he was said to have written N246DB instead of N264DB.He is also said to have been qualified to fly at night only if conditions were clear without any bad weather. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The Emiliano Sala plane tragedy may have been caused by the footballer and his pilot breathing deadly levels of carbon monoxide in the cockpit.Toxicology tests on Sala show he had a carbon monoxide saturation of 58 per cent in his blood.Anything over 50 per cent is likely to cause “seizure, unconsciousness, heart attack”, according to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.The discovery raises new questions over the air-worthiness of the Piper PA-46 Malibu that crashed into the English Channel on Jan 21.Pilot Dave Ibbotson, a part-time gas engineer, was at the controls despite only holding a private licence. Sala and the pilot died as the player completed a £15million transfer to Cardiff City from Nantes.Legal recriminations are ongoing between the clubs. David Henderson, who arranged the flight on behalf of the agent Willie McKay, is currently on bail, having been arrested in June on suspicion of manslaughter.The AAIB said in a statement: “Toxicology tests found that the passenger had a high saturation level of COHb (the combination product of carbon monoxide and haemoglobin). It is considered likely that the pilot would also have been exposed to carbon monoxide.”A full report on the crash is still pending but Sala’s family demanded investigators  salvage the wreckage of the plane from the English Channel. A “detailed examination” was necessary in the wake of the carbon monoxide results, a lawyer for the family said.Daniel Machover, of Hickman & Rose solicitors, said: “That dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide have been found in Emiliano’s body raises many questions for the family. How he died will be determined at the inquest in due course. The family believe that a detailed technical examination of the plane is necessary.”The family and the public need to know how the carbon monoxide was able to enter the cabin. Future air safety rests on knowing as much as possible on this issue.”Emiliano’s family call on the AAIB to salvage the wreckage of the plane without further delay.”A previous interim AAIB bulletin on the tragedy confirmed the mystery owner of the plane made no attempts to apply to either American or British authorities for commercial use.Investigators are still establishing whether the doomed flight took place on a “cost sharing” basis, which does not breach Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) guidelines.The US-registered Piper Malibu N264DB, unlicensed for commercial flying, fell thousands of feet in the space of 20 seconds after making a 180-degree turn, minutes after Ibbotson requested a descent. read more