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Sala pilot’s family seek donations to restart search for David Ibbotson | UK News

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The family of a pilot who remains missing after a plane carrying footballer Emiliano Sala crashed into the English Channel have set up a fundraising page to restart the search for his body.

While Sala’s body has been recovered and formally identified, David Ibbotson’s remains have not yet been located.

The 59-year-old’s family say on a fundraising page that “this tragic time” has become more difficult since the search was called off.

A spokesman for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch said on Wednesday that poor weather conditions led to a “difficult decision was taken to bring the overall operation to a close”.

Mr Ibbotson’s family want to lay him to rest and “cannot bear the thought of him being alone”.

Emiliano Sala
Image:
Nantes have retired the No 9 shirt in honour of Emiliano Sala

The light aircraft, which was found in a privately-funded search, remains underwater.

Sala was on his way to join Cardiff City from Nantes when the plane crashed 21 miles (34km) off the coast of Guernsey on 21 January.

Nantes are to retire their No 9 shirt in honour of the forward.

City manager Neil Warnock said the moment he received confirmation of the footballer’s death “was strange” and described Sala as “somebody who could do something special”.

He added: “Our thoughts are with David Ibbotson and his family as well. His family will be going through hell.”

Dave Ibbotson
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David Ibbotson was from Crowle in Lincolnshire

In their statement, Mr Ibbotson’s family said: “We are relying on the kindness of goodhearted people to help us raise the much-needed funds to help us find our beloved dad, husband and son.

“As a family we are trying to come to terms with the tragedy and the loss of two incredible men.

“To be told the search has now been called off for the foreseeable future has only made this tragic time more difficult.

“We cannot bare the thought of him being alone – we need him home so that we are able to lay him to rest.”

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