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Football stars donate thousands to search fund for missing Sala pilot David Ibbotson

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Football stars donate thousands to search fund for missing Sala pilot David Ibbotson
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Ex-England captain Gary Lineker and a user thought to be French footballer Kylian Mbappe have donated to a campaign set up by the family of missing pilot David Ibbotson.

Ibbotson was flying the plane carrying Cardiff City's Emiliano Sala, which crashed over the English Channel on January 21.

While Sala's body was recovered from the plane wreckage, the pilot's has not yet been found.

An individual using the name "Elie Lottin" donated £27,000 (€30,858) — British media reported this was the French football star whose full name is Kylian Mbappe Lottin.

Mbappe tweeted on Friday when Sala's body was found, saying: "RIP EMI".

Ex-England captain Gary Lineker pledged £1,000 (€1,142) and also tweeted a link to the page with the message: "Here’s the Go Fund Me page should you wish to help this poor family."

As a family we are trying to come to terms with the tragedy and the loss of two incredible men," Danielle Ibbotson wrote in the page's description.

"Any donations would be very much appreciated. To ensure a search is done so we are able to give David the correct send off he deserves and to support the family."

The crowdfunding campaign had raised nearly £20,000 (€22,858) at the time of writing. The family set a target of £300,000 (€342,870) on the page.

Despite Ibbotson not being found, poor weather conditions meant the search operation was closed, a spokesman for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) announced on Wednesday.

The body recovered from plane wreckage in the English Channel was that of professional football player Emiliano Sala, Dorset police said in a statement after it was brought to Portland Port, Dorset, on Thursday.

Sala's body was recovered in a private search funded by an appeal that raised €371,000.

The aircraft remains underwater off the coast of Guernsey.