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'Rusty', part-time pilot drafted in at last minute to fly footballer Sala

 

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Dave Ibbotson aborted three attempted take-offs

Dave Ibbotson aborted three attempted take-offs

Dave Ibbotson aborted three attempted take-offs

A part-time pilot and gas engineer was drafted in at the 11th hour to fly the plane carrying £15m (€17m) footballer Emiliano Sala, the 'Daily Telegraph' understands.

Sources said officials in Nantes, north-west France, had been expecting an experienced pilot who regularly flew footballing figures around Europe.

Instead, Dave Ibbotson, a gas engineer whose main flying activity was taking parachutists for jumps, was at the controls.

It is claimed the 59-year-old aborted three attempted take-offs and had joked with friends on Facebook that he was a "bit rusty" in the days before.

The four-day English Channel search for Cardiff City signing Sala was called off despite the player's sister flying into Britain from Argentina to beg authorities to 'please, please' continue.

Irish Independent