The family of missing North Lincolnshire pilot David Ibbotson have issued an emotional appeal as donations continue to flood in to fund a private search.
As previously reported, a body was found by underwater search teams investigating the wreckage of the Piper Malibu N264DB which vanished near the Channel Islands on January 21.
The body was formally identified as footballer Emiliano Sala while Ibbotson from Crowle in North Lincolnshire remains missing.
“We just want him home”
David’s wife and daughter Nora and Danielle gave an emotional interview to Good Morning Britain about a man described as “our rock”.
Nora said: “We know that he’s dead, we do know that, but we just want him home.
“We’re a very close family and I’m quite priveleged to have my children still at home with me and supporting me. We were a good unit together and that’s another reason why we’re doing this because of David.
“He’s been a brilliant husband, he’s supported us all. He was our supporter, he was our rock and for the children as well
“We can’t leave him out there on his own. We feel like he’s just out there on his own at the moment and this is why we’ve done the appeal, just for some help.
“As a family we want somebody to go down and have a last look. I know the conditions aren’t brilliant. I know it’s such a dangerous area, but just so we know ourselves.”
His daughter Danielle set up a GoFundMe page, which at the time of writing has raised £227,811 of its £300,000 target.
Danielle said: “He was amazing. I’m so lucky to have him as a dad. He wouldn’t just give you a hug, he’d lift you up off the floor because he said he loved us all so much.”
French footballer star Kylian Mbappe donated £27,000 to the search fund under the name Elie Lottin. Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker also donated £1,000.
Two anonymous donations of £25,000 each were given to the appeal on Tuesday afternoon. According to Sky Sports News presenter Jim White the donations came from Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan.
Vincent Tan, @CardiffCityFC owner, has personally donated £50K to the search fund for missing pilot David Ibbotson.
— Jim White (@JimWhite) February 12, 2019
Funds were previously raised for a private search after the initial mission and investigation was called off after four days of intense searching.
The wreckage of the plane was discovered in the English Channel near to Guernsey on February 3, where the body of Sala was found.
The Air Accident Investigation Branch previously said the extensive video record captured by the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) is expected to provide valuable evidence for the safety investigation.