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Leicester helicopter crash: ‘Minimal chance’ of survival for five on board

(L-R): Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, Kaveporn Punpare, Nusara Suknamai, Izabela Roza Lechowicz and Eric SwafferImage copyright
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(L-R): Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, Kaveporn Punpare, Nusara Suknamai, Izabela Roza Lechowicz and Eric Swaffer were killed in the crash on 27 October

There was “minimal chance” for anyone to survive a helicopter crash outside Leicester City’s stadium in which five people died, an inquest has heard.

Club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha died alongside four others when the aircraft came down shortly after a match on 27 October.

Det Ch Supt David Sandall told the inquest an intense fire stopped anyone getting in or out of the cabin.

He said CCTV footage showed the helicopter “spinning out of control”.

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King Power

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The Leicester City players joined Buddhist prayers for Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

Coroner Catherine Mason heard Mr Sandall, of Leicestershire Police, was the senior identification manager.

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Mr Sandall confirmed the victims had been scientifically identified and added: “CCTV shows the five victims in the tunnel at Leicester City football ground.

“Mobile phone footage showed the helicopter spinning out of control before descending to the crash site.”

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A huge number of tributes have been left outside the club’s stadium

Adjourning the inquest, Ms Mason said: “You have detailed to me that the final cause of death is pending subject to tests.

“Therefore I am not in a position to continue with the inquest at this time.”

A date for the inquest’s resumption has not been set.

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Many players and staff have returned to the UK after attending the start of Mr Vichai’s funeral in Thailand.

The billionaire bought Leicester City in 2010, and his guidance and investment is credited with helping the club win promotion in 2014 and then the Premier League title in 2016.

A number of players, including club captain Wes Morgan, striker Jamie Vardy and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, have spoken of the huge impact the Thai billionaire had on them and the club.

Thousands of tributes have been left outside the King Power Stadium and both physical and online books of condolence have opened.

Mr Vichai routinely flew from the stadium after matches and the helicopter came down less than a minute after taking off following a 1-1 draw with West Ham.

Two members of Mr Vichai’s staff – Kaveporn Punpare and Nusara Suknamai – pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz, also a qualified pilot, were also killed in the crash.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash having taken the wreckage to a facility in Farnborough, Hampshire.

The AAIB has confirmed contents of the digital flight recorder survived the post-crash fire.

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