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Soccer Star Killed in Crash Had Carbon Monoxide in Body

Emiliano Sala exposed to 'potentially fatal' level of the gas
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2019 1:01 PM CDT
A FC Nantes soccer fan displays an old copy of French soccer magazine, France Football, featuring FC Nantes soccer player Emiliano Sala of Argentina, during a tribute in Nantes, western France, Tuesday,...   (AP Photo/David Vincent)

(Newser) – A new wrinkle in the investigation into the plane crash that killed soccer star Emiliano Sala: Toxicology tests found carbon monoxide in his body at what is considered a "potentially fatal" level, Sky News reports. That could have caused a heart attack, seizure, or unconsciousness, which raises questions about what happened inside the plane before it crashed into the English Channel off the coast of Guernsey January 21—particularly because investigators assume the pilot, whose body has not yet been found, would have been exposed to similar levels. A spokesperson for Cardiff City, the soccer club to which Sala was switching after previously having played for a French club, says the carbon monoxide finding "highlights that the aircraft used for Emiliano Sala was not appropriate" and says that whomever arranged for the plane's use should be held accountable.

The BBC reports that piston engine planes like the one Sala was flying in produce the colorless, odorless gas in high concentrations, but the exhaust system is meant to ensure it doesn't leak into the cabin. "That dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide have been found in Emiliano's body raises many questions for the family," Sala's family says through a lawyer. "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." The Air Accidents Investigation Branch says it is "continuing to investigate pertinent operational, technical, organizational, and human factors which might have contributed to the accident." The plane has not yet been recovered, the Guardian reports. (Read more Emiliano Sala stories.)

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