Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala, who tragically died in an air crash in January, was exposed to harmful levels of carbon monoxide while travelling in a private plane before it plunged into the English Channel.
On Wednesday, the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch revealed that high concentrations of the toxic gas was found in Sala’s blood.
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Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas with no smell or taste, a high dosage of which may lead to death caused by chemical suffocation.
Exposure to gas levels of between 20 and 30 percent can cause dizziness and headaches. Investigation experts said the concentration of carbon monoxide in Sala’s blood was more than 58 percent, an extremely high level which might have been fatal.
The new discovery caused investigators to suggest that both Sala and the plane’s pilot David Ibbotson, whose body has still not been found, could have been poisoned by carbon monoxide exposure from aircraft fueling vehicles.
The pilot who could have inhaled a deadly level of the gas may have lost control of the aircraft which crashed into the Channel.
It remains unclear, however, whether Sala and the pilot died of toxic poisoning or from injuries received in the crash.
Sala was travelling to Cardiff after making his £15 million move from Nantes when the aircraft crashed en route to the Welsh capital.
Sala’s body was recovered in February from the English Channel and later sent to Argentina where the footballer was buried.