Emiliano Sala pilot's family pay touching tribute to 'best dad ever' with floral shrine in home village

Emiliano Sala pilot's family pay touching tribute to 'best dad ever' with floral shrine in home village

David Ibbotson was flying the doomed plane when it vanished on January 21 from Nantes, France, to Cardiff where Sala had signed a £15million switch with the Premier League club.


The 59-year-old's family have now written touching tributes after air accident investigators confirmed they had found a body in the wreckage at the bottom of the English Channel.

Although it has not yet been identified, the dad-of-three's heartbroken daughter, sister and nephew have paid their respects to David.

His daughter Vicki said: "Daddio, Words cannot describe how much I am going to miss you. You are the best dad anybody could wish for and I will love you always.

All I would like is to see your face, smiling, cheekily, again. I know you're safe wherever you are.

"I have (word illegible) memories and will pass these on to anybody I meet. All my love Vicki."

Younger sister Helen Kapatysulias penned an emotional tribute to her "gentle brother", adding: "I have so many memories of you, mine is of you when you were coming home from school, you used to pick me up and carry me home. I will lock these memories in my heart forever.

"All I would like is to see your face, smiling, cheekily, again. I know you're safe wherever you are. I pray that one day I will see you again, my gentle Big Brother.

"I love you forever and always and will never forget you."

In David's hometown of Crowle, near Scunthorpe, North Lincs, floral tributes have been left in the market square.

The pilot's nephew Tim is among those who left a heartbreaking note at the makeshift memorial.

He said: "To my uncle David. We hope that the angels are looking and guiding you home to us. I love you lots".

WRECKAGE FOUND

The tributes come after the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) yesterday confirmed they had discovered the plane 220ft down on the seabed.

Underwater video footage shows one intact body visible among the mangled metal after state-of-the-art sonar scoured the Channel for the wreckage.

Shipwreck hunter David Mearns led the search with his Morven vessel and the AAIB's own ship.

A ROV robot was then sent down to the seabed to identify the remains, the AAIB confirmed.

Investigators yesterday released a haunting image of the Piper Malibu — showing its blue and white livery and identification number.

HOW THE TRAGEDY UNFOLDED

The plane was carrying Cardiff City’s £15million record signing Sala, 28, to the Welsh capital from former club Nantes, in Western France, when it vanished on January 21.

Within a few hours search vessel FBV Morven picked up a signal and a remote-controlled submarine fitted with a camera was sent down to formally identify the wreckage.

On Wednesday, the AAIB said two seat cushions believed to be from the plane were found off Normandy.

A second hunt for Sala's missing plane was launched after his family and footie stars, including Lionel Messi, raised £325K to launch a private search.

Sala's loved ones were rocked by the news yesterday with his ex-girlfriend posting tributes on social media to the Argentine ace.

Meanwhile the striker's dad broke down yesterday as he spoke to reporters near his home in Santa Fe, Argentina.

He told Cronica TV: "They told me that the days passed and there was no news of Emiliano or the plane."

They are now demanding officials recover the bodies of the footballer and his pilot but there are fears the mission could be delayed by bad weather.
















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