Detectives investigating the death of footballer Emiliano Sala have arrested a York pilot on suspicion of manslaughter by an unlawful act.

Police investigating the plane crash that killed Sala have confirmed that they arrested a North Yorkshire man but declined to name him.

But according to widespread reports in The Times and other national newspapers, he is David Henderson, 64, from York.

Mr Henderson had arranged for fellow pilot David Ibbotson to take Mr Sala, 28, on a return trip from France.

The plane crashed into the English Channel north of Guernsey on January 21, killing both Mr Sala and Mr Ibbotson.

Mr Sala’s body was brought to Portland Port in Dorset on February 7, with police investigating the circumstances of his death.

Detective Inspector Simon Huxter, of Dorset Police, said:

  • We have carried out a wide-ranging investigation into the circumstances of the death of Mr Sala and continue to work with partner agencies including the Civil Aviation Authority.

    As part of this investigation we have to consider whether there is any evidence of any suspected criminality and as a result of our inquiries we have today (Wednesday June 19), arrested a 64-year-old man from the North Yorkshire area on suspicion of manslaughter by an unlawful act.

    He is assisting with our inquiries and has been released from custody under investigation.

Family liaison officers have been updating the families of Mr Sala and Mr Ibbotson.

Ongoing investigation

David Henderson, pictured in a BBC film
The body of Mr Ibbotson, 59, from Crowle, Lincolnshire, who was flying the plane from Nantes in France to Cardiff on January 21, has not yet been located.

Mr Henderson is a private pilot who, according to The Times, “worked regularly for Willie McKay, an agent who was linked to Sala’s transfer from FC Nantes”.

A tribute left at Cardiff City Stadium for Emiliano Sala in February. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
French media originally reported that Mr Henderson was flying the plane. It is thought that his name was on Nantes airport documentation relating to the flight.

Mr Henderson was released from custody under investigation. Media outlets have tried to speak to him in the past but he has not issued any public comment as yet.