,The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) have confirmed neither the pilot nor the single-engined aircraft were licensed for commercial use over the English Channel.
The mystery owner of the US-registered Piper Malibu N264DB had made no attempts to apply to either American or British authorities to ensure it could be commissioned for paid use.
Sala’s body was recovered from the wreckage two weeks later, but the pilot has not been found.
Investigators said the pilot and plane were not licensed by authorities for commercial flights.
That would be a significant factor in any potential prosecution of the plane’s unidentified owner or compensation claimslinked to the transfer fee if investigators establish the journey could not be considered a private flight.
Commercial flight regulations would not be applicable if costs were being shared and the journey was not specifically to take Sala from the French city of Nantes to his new club in Cardiff.
Police in the southwest English county of Dorset said they are supporting a coroner’s investigation into the circumstances of Sala’s death.
Cardiff agreed to pay a club-record fee of 15 million pounds (about $20 million) to Nantes for the 28-year-old Argentine striker.
A summary of the report reads: “At 2122 hrs on 21 January 2019, the AAIB was informed that a Piper PA-46-310P Malibu aircraft, registration N264DB, had been lost from radar in transit from Nantes, France, to Cardiff in the UK, and that a surface search for survivors was underway using assets from the Channel Islands, UK and France.
“The wreckage of the aircraft had not been located by the time the official search ended at 1515 hrs on 24 January 2019, and the event therefore became classed as an aircraft accident under the terms of Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation.
“There were two persons on board the aircraft but neither was found by the surface search…