Wife of Sala plane pilot begs: ‘Don’t leave him out there’

The initial search for the missing £15million striker and Mr Ibbotson was called off on January 24 but a private one funded by online donations was launched.

It led to the discovery of the Piper Malibu aircraft and a body, which was formally identified as Sala. The aircraft remains about 200ft under water 21 miles off the coast of Guernsey.

As part of their probe into the crash the Civil Aviation Authority, which regulates pilots’ licences, will be asked to confirm Mr Ibbotson, who passed his pilot’s test in America in 2014, had the instrument qualifications to fly at night or in bad weather and was properly insured.

In his final Facebook postings the father-of-three had told friends he was “a bit rusty” with the plane’s landing system.

Experts believe the plane may have become iced-up in the Arctic blast that hit Europe at the time, leading to the crash.

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