Emiliano Sala team-mate helped to organise flight before English Channel crash

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Emiliano Sala died aged 28 in a 2019 plane crash in the English Channel. It emerged today that fellow Cardiff City player Jack McKay, 25, helped organise the flight

One of Emiliano Sala’s team-mates offered him a free flight to France if he would help him score more goals, an inquest heard today.

The Argentinian striker died aged 28 in a 2019 plane crash in the English Channel. It emerged today that fellow Cardiff City player Jack McKay, 25, helped organise the flight.

He told the inquest Emiliano wanted to go back to Nantes to say bye to
team-mates and collect his belongings.

Mr McKay revealed his dad, football agent Willie, offered to book a private flight. In a text message to Sala, Jack said: “My dad said if you want to go home tomorrow we can organise a plane for you to go back to Nantes and come back on Monday before training on Tuesday.”

In one message Sala asked how much the trip to France would cost. Jack replied: “Nothing, if you help me score more goals.”

Sala responded by saying “Ha, ha, ha…with pleasure” before adding: “We will score lots of goals.”

The footballer died alongside pilot David Ibbotson, 59, when the Piper Malibu aircraft crashed into the sea on January 21, 2019. His body was later discovered 21 miles off Guernsey.

The talented player was flying from France to Wales to join then Premier League Cardiff in a £15million transfer.

Bournemouth coroners court heard that Scottish footballer Mr McKay and his dad were involved in setting up the flight. Jack, who now plays for National League North side York City, also dropped Sala off at the airport.

The inquest previously heard Sala was overcome by toxic levels of carbon monoxide prior to the crash.

Mr Ibbotson had been barred from flying the Piper Malibu by its owner.

But, he had continued to pilot the plane without her knowledge.

Agent Willie said Sala was “failed” by Cardiff City following his move.

He claimed the striker had received a WhatsApp message from a club
representative offering to organise a commercial flight to Paris.

Mr McKay said: “It wasn’t really any use to Emi because he lived in Nantes and it is more than five hours away [from Paris]. I only tried to help him to get over to Nantes to say his goodbyes, I felt as if Cardiff City failed him.”

The inquest continues and is due to last around a month.