On the 27th of October, 2018 Leicester City played an English Premier League home game against West Ham United. The game ended in a draw. Before the match, owner of Leicester City, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, arrived in a helicopter to watch the football match. It was a usual sight for Leicester City fans – the owner often travelled to the stadium using his helicopter. When the game ended the AugustaWestland AW169 chopper arrived on the stadium’s pitch to pick up Vichai and 2 other people. This time it was different - it ended in a crash. It was fatal. The total passenger count on the helicopter was 5. Including the 2 pilots. One of them was Eric Swaffer, who has over 20 years of flying experience.Leicester City Fans Pay Tribute To The Crash Victims
After preparing for the flight, the helicopter took off and left the stadium premises. Almost immediately after taking off, the chopper entered into a spin and crashed into the ground. It smashed into the ground near the Leicester City stadium Car Park E. It instantly burst into flames. A few witnesses claimed that the helicopter fell “like a stone to the floor”. Another stated that the helicopter’s tail rotor was the cause of the crash. Tragically, everyone on board was instantly killed.
A few causes have arisen, such as the before mentioned failed tail rotor. Investigators also ruled out a collision with a police drone or a bird. A video on YouTube portrays the last minutes of the helicopter and everyone on board.
What exactly happened is still unknown, as The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has opened up an investigation. They have not provided any answers yet. The helicopter’s Digital Flight Data Recorder was recovered but it was badly damaged in the fire. A primary report has concluded that there was “minimal opportunity to escape”.
The fatal crash has brought the footballing community together, as many fans laid shirts, scarves and flowers near the stadium. Leicester City also opened a book of condolence. They also made it available online, so anyone who wishes to pay respects to Khun Vichai can do so here: https://www.lcfc.com/condolence