The family of the missing pilot of the plane carrying the footballer Emiliano Sala have set up a fundraising page for donations to help restart a search for him.

Sala’s body was recovered from the wreckage of the light aircraft in the Channel and formally identified earlier this week but David Ibbotson has not been found.

Dave Ibbotson.

Dave Ibbotson during a previous flight. Photograph: Alan Thompson/Facebook

A GoFundMe page has so far raised more than £20,000. A message on the site reads: “Please help bring David Ibbotson home and help give him the sendoff 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 cannot bear the thought of him being alone. We need him home so that we are able to lay him to rest.”

Sala’s body was recovered in a privately funded search that was launched after the official search was called off three days after the men and their plane went missing while travelling from Nantes, France, to Cardiff, Wales.

Although Ibbotson, 59, of Crowle, Lincolnshire, has not been located, poor weather conditions meant a “difficult decision was taken to bring the overall operation to a close”, a spokesman for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch said on Wednesday.

The aircraft remains underwater off the coast of Guernsey.



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