A year after Emiliano Sala’s death in a plane crash, the soccer player’s family say they are still seeking answers to the tragedy.
Sala and pilot David Ibbotson were traveling from France to Wales after Cardiff City had agreed to sign the striker from Nantes — the soccer star had been saying farewell to his former teammates before the plane crashed in the English Channel on January 21, 2019.
Sala’s body was recovered from the wreckage on February 6, 2019, after a private search for the missing footballer and the pilot was commissioned by his family. Ibbotson’s body has yet to be found, while the plane has also not been retrieved.
Later toxicology tests found high levels of carbon monoxide in Sala’s blood which could have caused a seizure, unconsciousness or a heart attack.
“The Sala family will mark the anniversary of the untimely death of Emiliano in private, quiet contemplation of their loss,” said a statement from lawyer Daniel Machover, who is working with the family.
“The family’s primary concern remains for the full inquest to take place as soon as possible, so that they can finally learn the truth about what happened and ensure that no family has to suffer a similar preventable loss of a loved one.”
The inquest will seek to determine how and why Sala died whilst establishing the necessary facts around the crash and will be overseen by a coroner.
“Therefore, in the run up to the pre-inquest review hearing on 16 March 2020, it is imperative that the Coroner receives by 14 February 2020 (and then promptly shares with the family) the update required by the Coroner from all investigating bodies — the police, CAA and AAIB,” added the statement, referring to the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority and also the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.
“The CAA in particular must speed up its work,” the statement continued.
“The accident investigation is being lead by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch not the Civil Aviation Authority,” said the CAA in a statement sent to CNN>
Mark of respect
Sala’s former club Nantes announced it would pay tribute to the striker when it plays its next domestic league game against Bordeaux on Sunday.
Players will wear commemorative shirts in the style of Sala’s native Argentina and observe a minute’s silence as banners are held aloft by fans in the stadium.
Sala, who scored 42 goals for Nantes following his move from Bordeaux in 2015, had signed for then English Premier League club Cardiff for a reported £15 million ($19.3 million).
However, the Welsh team has since appealed against the decision ordering it to pay six million euros ($6.65 million) for the forward.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport says it expects to hold a hearing later in this year, though a decision is not expected before June 2020.
Cardiff has invited fans to pay their respects to both Sala and Ibbotson.
Cardiff told CNN it plans to release a statement on Tuesday to mark the anniversary of Sala’s death.