Little hope of survival as still no sign of missing light aircraft

Channel Islands Air Search (Image: CI Air Search)

Rescuers have said there is little hope that anyone is still alive from the Piper Malibu aircraft that went missing near Alderney in the Channel Islands on Sunday.

The aircraft, a Piper PA-46-310P Malibu registration N264DB, was flying from Nantes to Cardiff Airport (CWL/EGFF) when it went missing at 8:30pm on Monday night with the pilot and Premier League footballer Emiliano Sala onboard.

A search involving coastguard helicopters, lifeboats and a French navy ship was sparked when the aircraft disappeared from radar but after 2 days of searches there has been no sign of the aircraft.

Channel Islands Air Search chief officer John Fitzgerald suggested that with the freezing temperatures and sea temperatures even an incredibly it person would only survive for a few hours in the sea.

According to Police the aircraft was being flown by pilot David Ibbotson (60) from Scunthorpe. Humberside Police said: “We can confirm that North Lincolnshire man David Ibbotson is believed to be the pilot of the light aircraft that went missing near Guernsey on Monday 21 January.

“Specially trained officers are supporting Mr Ibbotson’s family who have asked for privacy at this difficult time.”

The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has begun an investigation but it will be limited in what in can do if the plane is not found. Light aircraft are not required to carry “Black Boxes” such as Cockpit Voice Recorders (CVR) or Flight Data Recorders.

Emiliano Sala had just signed for Cardiff City FC where tributes have already started to appear for the Argentinian player.