Investigators discover exact cause of Leicester City chairman’s helicopter crash

Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho, and the rest of Leicester City’s players and staff may be able to have some closure concerning the death of the club’s chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, after a report by the Air Accident Investigation Branch discovered the exact cause of the helicopter crash that killed Khun Vichai, the two pilots, and two other passengers who were staff of the club. The other victims of the crash were pilots Eric Swaffer and Izabela Roza Lechowicz, who was also Swaffer’s girlfriend, and Leicester staff Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare. Khun Vichai’s burial held in early November in Bangkok, Thailand, with the entire Leicester City squad in attendance.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

From the investigation, the helicopter span out of control and crashed at a parking lot around the club’s King Power Stadium on October 27, less than two hours after Leicester City’s 1-1 draw with West Ham United in a Premier League match, bursting into flames and killing all five people on board. No one else was around the area of the crash at the time as most people who came to watch the match had left the stadium at the time of the crash.

Helicopter landing at the stadium

 

Now an Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) report found cockpit pedals had disconnected from the tail rotor. This caused the aircraft to turn uncontrollably to the right before it crashed near the King Power Stadium. The AAIB said its inquiries into the 27 October crash are ongoing. The report said: “The tail rotor actuator control shaft became disconnected from the actuator lever mechanism. The disconnection stopped the feedback mechanism for the tail rotor actuator from operating and the tail rotor actuator from responding to yaw control inputs.”

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“This loss of the feedback mechanism meant the yaw stops were ineffective and the tail rotor actuator was able to continue changing the pitch of the tail rotor blades “until they reached the physical limit of their travel. This resulted in an uncontrollable right yaw. Sufficient force and torque had been applied to the castellated nut on the actuator end of the control shaft to friction weld it to the pin carrier and to shear the installed split pin.”

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Khun Vichai bought Leicester City along with a group of investors in 2010 before taking full control of the club and guiding it to winning promotion back to the Premier League from the Championship in 2014. This was soon followed by a fairytale first league title win in 2016.

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