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Getty Images/David Ibbotson

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Emiliano Sala (left) was on board a plane being flown by pilot David Ibbotson

The family of the pilot of the plane carrying footballer Emiliano Sala which crashed into the sea have launched a fundraising appeal to find his body.

David Ibbotson of North Lincolnshire was flying the Cardiff City player from Nantes to the UK when their plane 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.

Thousands of pounds have been raised on a Gofundme page in a few hours.

‘Need him home’

On the page, the family of Mr Ibbotson, from Crowle, said: “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 bear the thought of him being alone, we need him home so that we are able to lay him to rest.”

The appeal has a target of £300,000.

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The AAIB released this photograph of the wreckage of the Piper Malibu found in 63m (205ft) of water north west of Guernsey

The Piper Malibu N264DB was en route from 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 after Guernsey’s harbour master said the chances of survival were “extremely remote”.

But an online appeal started by Sala’s agent raised £324,000 (371,000 euros) for a private search led by marine scientist and oceanographer David Mearns.

Working jointly with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, Mr Mearns’ ship and the Geo Ocean III, began combing a four square mile area of the English Channel, 24 nautical miles north of Guernsey.

The plane’s wreckage was discovered on Sunday and Sala’s body was recovered on Wednesday.

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Marine Traffic

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The search vessel Geo Ocean III found the wreckage near Guernsey

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