THE family of David Ibbotson have broken down in tears as they revealed they wouldn’t give up looking for the missing pilot.
Mr Ibbotson, 59, was flying the £15million Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala, 28, from Nantes to the Welsh capital when the single propeller aeroplane crashed into the sea near Alderney on January 21.
A huge search saw Sala’s body found in the plane’s wreckage on February 4 – with the family of pilot Mr Ibbotson now fundraising to continue the search for the 59-year-old.
David Ibbotson’s daughter Danielle and wife Nora, 60, today told Good Morning Britain they were still holding out hope the dad and husband would be found.
Breaking down in tears, Danielle said: “If you’ve got hope, you shouldn’t give up.
“He wouldn’t stop searching for me.”
Mr Ibbotson’s wife Nora added: “We can’t stop.”
She said she had been praying for the family of footballer Sala, since the tragedy had first unfolded.
The grieving 60-year-old said: “(It’s like) that football song – he’s coming home.
“And he will, definitely.”
Nora said she had spoken to her husband – who had been flying for 29 years – before the flight took off, but said he had not raised any concerns about the weather or conditions.
She said: “He didn’t raise any concerns to me about it – he said the weather was fine.”
If you’ve got hope, you shouldn’t give up
The family has since launched a GoFund Me page to help fund the search for Mr Ibbotson – pleading “we need him home so that we are able to lay him to rest”.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) stated the search had been brought to an end and the operation to raise the wreckage abandoned due to bad weather.
But on Friday Sala’s family urged authorities to continue looking for the pilot’s body.
They said in a statement: “It is with infinite sadness that we confirm the identity of Emiliano’s body.
“We would like to thank you for all your signs of affection and support in what is the most painful time of our lives.
“Seeing the whole world mobilised to support us in our research has been an infinitely precious help. Thanks to you, we are now able to mourn our son, our brother.
“On this Friday morning, our thoughts go to David Ibbotson and his family, hoping that the authorities will do their best to find him.”
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The wreckage was discovered by the AAIB and robots subs were used to pull the body out of the 220ft-deep water “in as dignified a way as possible”..
The AAIB said: “In challenging conditions, the AAIB and its specialist contractors successfully recovered the body previously seen amidst the wreckage.
“The operation was carried out in as dignified a way as possible and the families were kept informed of progress.”
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