Search called off for Emiliano Sala plane pilot David Ibbotson

A crowd funded search to find the body of missing Crowle pilot David Ibbotson who was flying a plane in which Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala died has ended with “no trace.”

Friday, 1st March 2019, 08:02 am
Updated Friday, 1st March 2019, 08:07 am
Missing pilot David Ibbotson

Mr Ibbotson was flying the footballer to Wales from France when their Piper Malibu aircraft crashed near Guernsey on 21 January.

The footballer’s body was later found amid the wreckage but search crews have been unable to find any trace of the Isle of Axholme based pilot.

A helicopter was used to search coastal areas and two divers went down to the wreckage of the Piper Malibu plane.

Organiser David Mearns said that the "active search" had ended.

Mr Mearns, who led the successful search for Sala's body, said divers had searched "every nook and cranny" of the plane which is understood to have broken into three parts.

"Sadly there was absolutely no trace of David, no trace of any clothing, no trace of any of his personal items," he said.

He added: "In terms of the active search, it has ended. But that doesn't mean there isn't a chance that that David's body will still wash ashore."

The crowdfunding appeal launched by Mr Ibbotson's family has raised nearly £250,000 and saw contributions from French footballer Kylian Mbappe, who donated £27,000, and former England captain Gary Lineker who gave £1,000.

A preliminary report into the crash by the Air Accident Investigation Branch confirmed the pilot held a private licence but not one for commercial flights.

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

The funeral of Sala took place in his home country of Argentina last month.