Leicester helicopter crash deaths: Identities of all five fatalities after tragic incident

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Tragic Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha is one of five people to have lost their lives in the helicopter crash at the King Power Stadium on Saturday night.

Srivaddhanaprabha was collected from the match as usual but his helicopter sustained a problem just moments after taking off from the centre circle.

It plunged from a height of around 200 feet and crashed into the concrete, immediately becoming engulfed in flames.

Pilot Eric Swaffer, his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz, who is also a pilot, and two members of Srivaddhanaprabha’s staff, Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, were also killed.

Suknamai, originally from Bangkok, was a former Miss Thailand Universe competitor.

Her Instagram page includes snap of the 33-year-old with Leicester City players including Harry Maguire and Kasper Schmeichel.

On Friday she posted photos on Facebook of herself posing on Chelsea’s famous Kings Road.

Swaffer, 53, was a veteran pilot who previously flew members of the Royal Family and celebrities including Uri Geller.

He also flew helicopters for Channel 4’s Big Breakfast and Virgin Radio during a 20-year career.

Eric lived in Camberley, Surrey, with his Polish-born girlfriend Izabela, also killed in the crash.

Izabela, 46, moved to the UK in 1997 and began learning to fly six years later, after meeting Eric.

The Polish Embassy tweeted that Izabela was “a wonderful pilot”, and a finalist in the #Polka100, a list of “exceptional women who inspire Polish community in Britain”.

waffer has been hailed a hero for steering the helicopter away from the football stadium and busy parts of the surrounding area.

Eyewitnesses said the tragedy could have been much worse had it not been for the heroic actions of the pilot in guiding the stricken aircraft away from the 32,000-seater ground.

More than 1,000 staff, corporate guests and members of the media were still inside the ground at the time.

One witness said: “If it had hit the stadium or even landed near the entrance who knows what would have happened.

“The pilot probably saved hundreds of lives. It’s still a tragedy, but it could have been much, much worse.”

In a statement, Leicestershire Police said: “We have been working to ensure that all the relevant next of kin had been informed prior to this information being confirmed publicly.

“The aircraft came down in a car park near the stadium shortly after 8.30pm with Leicestershire Police, East Midlands Ambulance Service and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service all responding to the incident.

“No one else is believed to have been injured.

“The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is leading the investigation into the accident and a cordon remains in place at the scene while enquiries continue.

“Leicestershire Police will be supporting the AAIB in its investigation, liaising closely with Leicester City Football Club as enquiries continue.”

Superintendent Steve Potter said: “This is an incredibly tragic incident in which five people are understood have lost their lives.

“Emergency services were immediately on scene when the crash happened, working to put out the fire and gain access to the helicopter in attempts to reach those inside. Despite those efforts, there were no survivors.

“The AAIB is now leading an investigation to establish the exact circumstances surrounding the crash and investigators will remain at the scene to complete their initial enquiries.

“It is likely to take several days to fully complete the necessary work and to safely deal with the scene of this tragic accident, during that time we ask that both the media and public resist speculating around the cause of the crash.

“We appreciate that both the public and media were keen to be updated on the circumstances and to confirm if those on board the helicopter had survived, but before any detail could be issued publicly, it was vital that all immediate next of kin were informed of the tragic outcome.

“As our communities will understand, this was a matter that needed to be handled sensitively and with dignity, with the families of the deceased being at the heart of our response, which involved other agencies.

“Our thoughts today are with the families of those who have sadly died, with Leicester City Football Club, and with both football supporters and the wider local community who have all been impacted by the events of last night and the news that those on board the aircraft have not survived.”

Souce: Mirror

 

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