The family of David Ibbotson who piloted the aircraft that crashed over the English Channel killing Emiliano Sala have said they won’t give up hope in their fight to find the missing father.
The 59-year-old was carrying Sala from Nantes to Cardiff following his record £15million transfer to the Premier League club, but the plane crashed into the sea near Alderney on January 21.
Daughter Danielle told Good Morning Britain today that the family have raised £140,000 as they try to fund a search operation that will cost more than double that amount.
‘If you’ve got hope you shouldn’t give up,’ she said. ‘He wouldn’t stop searching for me.’
Mr Ibbotson’s wife, Nora, told the show that they won’t be able to grieve properly until his body is brought home.
‘We do know he’s gone but we want him back,’ she said. ‘We know he is dead but we just want him home. He’s been a brilliant husband he’s supported us all he was our supporter he was our rock. We feel like he’s just out there on his own at the moment.
‘I know conditions aren’t brilliant and it’s a dangerous sea but we just need to have that last look.’
David Ibbotson’s wife Nora (left) and daughter Danielle (right) wept on Good Morning Britain today as they told of their sorrow at the pilot’s body not being found
Mr Ibbotson (pictured with his wife) has been missing ever since the fatal crash killed Sala in the English Channel
Missing footballer Emiliano Sala was confirmed dead after his body was brought up from the bottom of the English Channel
This morning Mr Ibbotson’s wife Nora said that her friend had adapted the World Cup song ‘It’s Coming Home’ as she reassured her that he would be found.
Mrs Ibbotson told the show: ‘She was singing that football song “he’s coming home” – and he will be.’
The missing pilot’s daughter and wife gave a tearful interview on Good Morning Britain in which they vowed to never give up hope
The family of David Ibbotson have launched a fundraising page to continue the search for him. They have now raised more than £100,000 of their £300,000 goal
Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker has donated to the Go Fund Me Page to aid the search of Sala
France and Paris Saint Germain star striker Kylian Mbappe has also donated to fund the search for the missing pilot
The sister of Emiliano Sala posted this picture of the footballer on Instagram after it was confirmed his body has been recovered from the wreckage of an air crash at sea on Thursday last week. The photo shows him on the pitch at Nantes, the French club he was leaving to join Cardiff City
Match of the Day presenter Lineker donated £1,000 and Mbappe, under false name Ellie Lottin, has donated £26,267, as reported by The Sun
Sala’s body was recovered in a privately-funded search which had been launched after the initial search was called off three days after the men and their plane, which had been travelling from Nantes in France to Cardiff, went missing.
The aircraft remains underwater off the coast of Guernsey in the English Channel.
A statement on the Go Fund Me page said: ‘Please help bring David Ibbotson home and help give him the send off he deserves.
‘As a family we are relying on the kindness of the good hearted 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 can not bare the thought of him being alone, we need him home so that we are able to lay him to rest.
‘Any donations would be very much appreciated. To ensure a search is done so we are able to give David the correct send off he deserves and to support the family.
‘Thank you so much for your support Ibbotson Family.’
Today, players and staff from FC Nantes and Nimes paid tribute to the forward prior to their Ligue 1 match.
Fans unfurled banners at the stadium as they paid tribute to the Argentinian forward.
Nantes players, staff members and Nantes’ Bosnian head coach Vahid Halilhodzic (C-R) pay tribute to late Argentinian forward Emiliano Sala prior to the French L1 football match between Nantes and Nimes at the Beaujoire stadium today
Fans pay tribute to Emiliano Sala at the game today between FC Nantes and Nimes Olympique
FC Nantes and Nimes Olympique players applaud as a tribute in memory of Emiliano Sala
Pilot David Ibbotson and his wife, Nora Ibbotson. The frequent flyer went missing with his plane on January 21
Flowers and tributes have been laid for Emiliano Sala at FC Nantes Stadium in western France
The devastated sister of footballer Emiliano Sala said his ‘soul will shine forever’ after it was confirmed he died in a plane crash in the English Channel.
Following the announcement, Sala’s sister Romina posted a picture of him on Instagram, with the poignant message: ‘Your soul in my soul, it will shine forever, illuminating my existence. I love you, Tito.’
The family later released a statement thanking the public for their support at what they described as ‘the most painful time of our lives’.
The statement continued: ‘Seeing the whole world mobilized 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.’
After it was confirmed the body was that of Mr Sala on Thursday morning, an expert said he fears Mr Ibbotson’s remains may never be recovered because it was not in the wreckage still at the bottom of the seabed.
Stars of world football posted tributes to Sala online in the wake of the announcement.
Timeline: How the Sala tragedy unfolded
January 21, 2019:
The single-turbine engine Piper PA-46 Malibu leaves Nantes at 7.15pm for Cardiff and is flying at an altitude of 5,000ft. At 8.50pm the plane disappears from radar in the English Channel.
The French civil aviation authority confirms Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala, 28, who had just signed for Cardiff City, was on board the light aircraft. Piloting the plane was David Ibbotson, from Crowle, near Scunthorpe.
Guernsey’s harbour master Captain David Barker says the chances Sala and Mr Ibbotson have survived is ‘extremely remote’.
It emerges that football agent Willie McKay arranged for the flight to take Sala to Cardiff but he says he had no involvement in selecting the plane or pilot. He also backs calls for the search to continue.
Relatives and friends of Sala arrive in Guernsey, having enlisted the help of shipwreck hunting expert David Mearns.
Sala’s family, including his mother Mercedes and sister Romina, take a chartered flight in a plane operated by Guernsey airline Aurigny over the area where the plane disappeared.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) says two seat cushions found washed up earlier in the week near Surtainville on the Cotentin Peninsula are likely to have come from the plane carrying Sala and his pilot.
Wreckage of the plane is located in a fresh, privately funded search which was made possible after a fundraising campaign saw more than £260,000 donated.
A body is visible in seabed video footage of the wreckage of the plane. The AAIB says the footage was filmed using an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) which was surveying the area after the plane was located.
A body seen in the wreckage of the plane is recovered. The AAIB says the body will be taken to Portland to be passed over to the Dorset coroner for examination.
The aircraft remains 67 metres underwater 21 miles off the coast of Guernsey. The AAIB says attempts to recover the aircraft wreckage were unsuccessful and, due to continued poor weather forecast, ‘the difficult decision was taken to bring the overall operation to a close’.
The Geo Ocean III search boat returns to dock in Portland, Dorset, carrying the wreckage of the Piper Malibu aircraft. Investigators wait to confirm if the body inside the wreckage is that of the pilot or the Argentinian footballer.