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Man arrested in connection with death of soccer player Emiliano Sala

Updated: Jul 9, 2019

Flowers lay in front of the entrance of the training center La Joneliere in La Chapelle-sur-Erdre, France on Jan. 25, 2019, four days after the plane of Argentinian forward Emiliano Sala vanished during a flight from Nantes, western France, to Cardiff in Wales.

A single-engine aircraft carrying Sala and pilot David Ibbotson crashed in the English Channel on Jan. 21.

LONDON — Police investigating the death of Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala arrested a man on Wednesday on suspicion of manslaughter.

A single-engine aircraft carrying Sala and pilot David Ibbotson crashed in the English Channel on Jan. 21. The body of Sala, who had just signed for Cardiff City from French club Nantes and was traveling to join his new team in Wales, was recovered from the wreckage two weeks later.

Detectives in the southwest English county of Dorset, where Sala's body was brought in February, have been investigating the circumstances of the player's death and said a 64-year-old man was arrested "on suspicion of manslaughter by an unlawful act."

"He is assisting with our inquiries and has been released from custody under investigation," Detective Inspector Simon Huxter, of Dorset Police, said.

Police said the man was from North Yorkshire in England.

Family liaison officers have been updating the families of Sala and Ibbotson, the pilot of the plane that lost contact with Air Traffic Control north of Guernsey. The body of Ibbotson, who was 59 at the time of the crash, has not been found.

Cardiff, which was playing in the English Premier League up until May, agreed to pay a club-record fee of about $20 million to Nantes to sign Sala.

Mark McKay, one of the brokers of the transfer, said he helped to organize a "private flight" for Sala to Wales from Nantes, where he had returned briefly after signing the deal in Cardiff.

Nantes and Cardiff are still in a dispute over Sala's transfer fee, which was a record signing.

Another English police force in Wiltshire, west of London, said this month that two people were facing charges over a photograph showing Sala's body at a mortuary. They will appear in court next month.

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