Pilot on Emiliano Sala flight was ‘colour-blind and not allowed to fly at night’
The pilot of the downed plane that was carrying footballer Emiliano Sala was not qualified to fly at night, it has been reported.
The plane crashed into the English Channel in January and Sala’s body was found the following month.
It has since emerged that pilot David Ibbotson is colourblind and therefore not supposed to fly in darkness, according to the BBC.
Sources claim the pilot’s licence restricted him to ‘flights by day only.’
“Colour-blindness stops a pilot from obtaining a night rating straight away, because being able to differentiate between green and red lights is key to flying in the dark.
“Flying outside the restrictions of your licence is illegal and that’s likely to affect the insurance cover for the flight.”
The pair were flying from Nantes to Cardiff, shortly after Sala, 28, had signed a £15 million contract with Cardiff City.
The flight lost contact with the radars and the wreckage was found in the sea.
Sala’s body was recovered on February 6, although Mr Ibbotson is yet to be found.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority has not commented on the claims.
However, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) confirmed that licensing ‘continues to be a focus’ of the investigation into the crash.
European aviation rules define night as half an hour after sunset until half an hour after sunrise.
Sala’s flight was due to leave Nantes airport at 9am, however the striker requested a delay until 7pm to allow him to spend time with his teammates.
When the flight set off, it would have been approximately 70 minutes after sunset.
A full report into the air accident is expected early next year.