The wife and daughter of the pilot who was flying the plane carrying footballer Emiliano Sala have said they will never stop searching for him.
In an emotional interview this morning, David Ibbotson’s wife Nora said: ‘He’s dead, we know that – but we just want him home.’
Mr Ibbotson, 59, is still missing after the plane, which was flying the Argentine footballer from Nantes to Cardiff, crashed in the English Channel.
Sala’s body was recovered from the wreckage after a privately-funded search found the plane on February 4.
A fundraising campaign to restart the search for Mr Ibbotson has already raised more than £140,000.
This morning, Nora told Good Morning Britain: ‘We’re a close family, we were a good unit together and that’s another reason why we’re doing this because of David.
‘He was a brilliant husband who supported us all. He was our rock.
‘We just want to know that, we can’t leave him out there on his own.
‘Until we’ve tried to do everything we can, this is why we’ve done the appeal – for some help to guide us.’
David’s daughter Danielle bravely fought back tears as she spoke of the moment police told the family the plane had gone missing off the coast of Guernsey.
She said: ‘The police let us know, we all then had to go home and be told. Which is what you never want.
‘I was sat there ringing my dad, you know? As if, “It’s not my dad”.’
Danielle said her father would not give up looking for her if she was missing, so she would not give up on him.
‘If you’ve got hope then you shouldn’t give up,’ she said. ‘He wouldn’t stop searching for me.’
A web page raising funds to continue the search for Mr Ibbotson was set up on Friday.
A donation under the name of broadcaster and former footballer Gary Lineker of £1,000 is registered on the page, which he shared with his 7.2 million Twitter followers on Saturday.
A £27,000 donation under the name Elie Lottin, apparently made by France’s World Cup winning footballer Kylian Sanmi Mbappe Lottin, is also registered.
The page has a fundraising target of £300,000.
A message on the site reads: ‘Please help bring David Ibbotson home and help give him the send off 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 can not 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, which was launched after the initial search was called off three days after the men and their plane went missing.
Although Mr Ibbotson, 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 in the English Channel.
The GoFundMe campaign for David Ibbotson is available here.