Emiliano Sala: Footballer was ‘exposed to carbon monoxide’ before plane crashed

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Sala and David Ibbotson were traveling from Nantes, France, to Cardiff, Wales, when their plane crashed, killing them both.

Ibbotson’s body has still not been found, but toxicology tests on Sala’s body showed harmful levels of carbon monoxide in his blood, which could have caused a seizure, unconsciousness or a heart attack.

A report released by the Air Accidents Investigations Branch (AAIB) said it was likely that Ibbotson would also have been exposed to carbon monoxide.

“Toxicology tests found that the passenger had a high saturation level of COHb (the combination product of carbon monoxide and haemoglobin). It is considered likely that the pilot would also have been exposed to carbon monoxide,” reads the report published Wednesday.

“When our investigation has concluded, we will publish a final report.”

Blood tests showed Sala had a COHb saturation level of 58%. “A COHb level of 50% or above in an otherwise healthy individual is generally considered to be potentially fatal,” the report read.

Exposure to the colorless, odorless gas can lead to “damage to the brain, heart and nervous system,” according to the report.

“It is clear from the symptoms that exposure to CO can reduce or inhibit a pilot’s ability to fly an aircraft depending on the level of that exposure,” it adds.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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