Search for missing Emiliano Sala pilot David Ibbotson to begin next week

A new search for the body of missing Isle of Axholme pilot David Ibbotson could start next week, his family have said.

Tuesday, 19th February 2019, 12:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th February 2019, 12:27 pm
Missing pilot David Ibbotson.

Mr Ibbotson, of Crowle was flying Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala to the UK when their aircraft crashed near Guernsey on 21 January.

The footballer's body was recovered from the plane wreck on the seabed, but Mr Ibbotson's body has not been found.

An appeal by his family to fund the search has raised more than £240,000.

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On the fundraising site, the Ibbotson family thanked donors and said a new search involving deep sea divers would "start hopefully beginning of next week".

"We are just waiting on confirmation of dates to update you all," the post said.

"Also we are organising the helicopter searches of the coastal areas [which] will be starting a lot sooner than the deep dive.

"You have all been so amazing and thank you for all your kind messages and donations."

The Piper Malibu N264DB was en route from Nantes in France to Cardiff, two days after the Argentine striker's £15m transfer to Cardiff was announced.

An official search was called off on 24 January, but Sala's body was found after an appeal launched by his agent raised £324,000 (371,000 euros) for a private search.

The Ibbotson family launched their own appeal with a target of £300,000, writing. "We can not bear the thought of him being alone, we need him home so that we are able to lay him to rest."

The fund was boosted with contributions from French footballer Kylian Mbappe, who donated £27,000, and former England captain Gary Lineker who gave £1,000.