Leicester release statement as tragic helicopter crash deemed ‘inevitable’ | Football | Sport

Leicester City have issued a statement after the publication of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch’s final report into the helicopter crash at the King Power Stadium that saw the club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha among five people who lost their lives on October 27, 2018.

A near five-year investigation into the crash that killed Srivaddhanaprabha along with Kaveporn Punpare, Nusara Suknamai, Eric Swaffer and Izabela Lechowicz concluded that the “catastrophic failure” of an essential component was the cause of the heartbreaking tragedy.

The Leonardo AW169 aircraft tookft off at the King Power Stadium at 7.37pm, but appeared to lose control and crashed in the outside car park. The report revealed that pilot Swaffer said he had “no idea what’s going on” as the helicopter spun out of control. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch’s final report finally gave some answers to the grieving families, confirming that a tail rotor bearing seized, which in turn caused the crash. The AAIB said the incident was “inevitable” after a sequence of mechanical failures.

A lack of communication between the helicopter’s manufacturer and the maker of the duplex bearing was listed as a contributing factor to the incident, although tests were not required by regulations to be shared. The rotor seized up after the mechanism linking it to the pedals failed, leading to a “sequence of failures” that “culminated in the unrecoverable loss of control of the tail rotor blade pitch angle and the blades moving to their physical limit of travel”.

In a statement published on Wednesday, Leicester chief executive Susan Whelan said: “We commend the extensive and detailed body of work undertaken by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch and welcome the publication of its report, in the hope it will contribute positively to the continued development of future aviation standards and safety.

“The tragic events of 27 October, 2018, will forever be etched into the memory of the Leicester City family. It was a night we experienced the devastating loss of our beloved Chairman, friends, colleagues, and family members. Yet, in our grief, a sense of unity and strength was forged. The extraordinary support and kindness that was extended to those affected, by communities across Leicestershire, football and the wider world will never be forgotten.

“As we near the fifth anniversary of the accident, the families and loved ones of Khun Vichai, Kaveporn, Nusara, Eric and Izabela remain always in our thoughts, as those we lost remain always in our hearts.

“As a Club, we continue to feel the loss of Khun Vichai, who loved his Club, the city it calls home and the communities it represents. Our ongoing commitment to Khun Vichai’s vision, led with the same passion and devotion by Khun Aiyawatt and the Srivaddhanaprabha family, will be our lasting tribute to the memory of those we lost, and a reflection of the ambition, dedication and sense of community that brought us all together under Khun Vichai’s leadership.”

Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, who lost his father Vichai, and his family are considering their legal recourse against Italian manufacturer Leonardo S.p.A while litigation has already begun in Italy on behalf of the families of Eric Swaffer and Izabela Lechowicz.

In a statement through litigation specialists Stewarts, Aiyawatt said: “I am deeply saddened by the course of events. Almost five years after my father’s passing, this report provides concerning evidence against Leonardo. My father trusted that he had bought a safe helicopter from a world-renowned manufacturer.

“Had he known what we know now he would never have risked his life in this machine. The pain this causes me and my family is immeasurable and as a family we continue to struggle every day with our grief at the loss of my father. He was a great inspiration to me personally and we all loved him very much.”

Related Articles

Back to top button