Emiliano Sala's pilot David Ibbotson 'had some control of plane when it hit sea water'

Tributes are placed outside the Cardiff City Stadium, Wales, for Emiliano Sala, Friday Feb. 8, 2019 (Aaron Chown/PA via AP)

Pilot on Emiliano Sala flight ‘had control of the plane when it hit the sea’

Pilot David Ibbotson on the flight of Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala had “not completely lost control”, according to an aviation.

The 28-year-old footballer was killed when his plane crash landed in the English Channel.

He was declared dead on Wednesday after his remains were removed from the plane.

David Learmount, a former RAF instructor, has suggested that Ibbotson, 60, maintained some control over the aircraft.

He said: “Nobody dives an aircraft into the sea knowing they are diving the aircraft into the sea. You pull the nose up.

“It didn’t enter the sea at high speed with its nose down.”

In this image released Monday Feb. 4, 2019, by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) showing the rear left side of the fuselage including part of the aircraft registration N264DB that went missing carrying soccer player Emiliano Sala, when it disappeared from radar contact on Jan. 21 2019. The Air accident investigators say one body is visible in the sea in the wreckage of the plane that went missing carrying soccer player Emiliano Sala and his pilot David Ibbotson. (AAIB via AP)

Meanwhile, a fundraising page has been set up asking for donations to restart a search for the pilot, who has never been found.

A Go Fund Me page has so far raised more than £13,000.

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 bare the thought of him being alone, we need him home so that we are able to lay him to rest.”

(AFP | Cristian Kovadloff, Magali Cervantes, Guillaume Painchaud)

Sala’s body was recovered in a privately-funded search which had been launched after the initial search was called off three days after the men and their plane, which had been travelling from Nantes in France to Cardiff, went missing.

Although Mr 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 in the English Channel.