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Soccer Star Sala Exposed to Harmful Carbon Monoxide in Plane

FILE - Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock, left, comforts Emiliano Sala's father, Horacio Sala at the cemetery in Santa Fe, Argentina, Feb. 16, 2019.

British investigators say Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala and his pilot were exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide before their small plane crashed in the English Channel, killing them both.

A single-engine Piper Malibu aircraft carrying Sala and pilot David Ibbotson crashed in the Channel on Jan. 21.Sala was traveling from France to join his new team, Cardiff City in Wales.

His body was recovered from the wreckage two weeks later. Ibbotson's body has not been found.

The Air Accident Investigations Branch said Wednesday that toxicology tests found “a high saturation level of COHb (the combination product of carbon monoxide and hemoglobin)” in Sala's blood.

It said the level was 58%, above the 50% level "generally considered to be potentially fatal" in a healthy individual.