Inspectors have determined that the helicopter crash resulting in the tragic demise of Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four other passengers was indeed a “tragic accident.”
A comprehensive report compiled over five years by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has disclosed that the crash was precipitated by mechanical failure stemming from a seized tail rotor bearing.
The report characterises the crash as “inevitable,” as the bearing malfunction prompted a sharp right turn, ultimately leading to the helicopter losing control.
Pilot Eric Swaffer was found to have been incapable of taking significant corrective action, and he was absolved of any culpable errors in the incident.
As per the BBC, the helicopter’s voice recordings also revealed the pilot’s final words before the helicopter crashed. “I’ve no idea what’s going on,” he said shortly before the aircraft spun to the ground and landed on a concrete step.
Tragically, Mr. Swaffer’s partner, Izabela Roza Lechowicz, a seasoned pilot, also lost her life in the crash. Alongside her, Nusara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, two of Mr. Srivaddhanaprabha’s staff members, also perished.
The investigation’s findings additionally revealed that, although four out of the five passengers initially survived the crash impact, they succumbed to a subsequent fire that rapidly engulfed the wreckage in under a minute.
In a statement, Chief Inspector of Air Accidents Crispin Orr officially confirmed that the incident was indeed an accident and extended his heartfelt condolences to all those affected by the tragedy.
“This was a tragic accident in which five people sadly lost their lives. Our thoughts are with their loved ones, and everyone affected,” he said. “The nature of the failure in the tail rotor was really very serious, of a sort that left them in a very poor situation.
“There was nothing more that the pilot could do.”
Mr Srivaddhanaprabha bought Leicester in 2010 for a reported fee of £38 million and became a legend within the city after overseeing a fairy-tale Premier League triumph in 2016.