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‘Failed rotor pedal’ caused Leicester City copter crash

Crash site: The helicopter wreckage and pilot Eric Swaffer with Ms Lechowicz (below) PICTURE: SWNS

A HELICOPTER carrying the Leicester City chairman crashed when a pedal controlling the tail rotor became disconnected, a report has revealed.

Billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, 60, and four others were killed in the crash outside the club’s King Power Stadium after a Premier League match.

The AgustaWestland AW169 they were travelling in entered an ‘uncontrollable’ spin seconds after take-off from the pitch following the game against West Ham on October 27.

An Air Accidents Investigation Branch report found this was caused when a pedal controlling the tail rotor became disconnected.

‘The tail rotor system was first inspected at the crash site,’ the report said. ‘This identified that the input lever mechanism was not attached to the control shaft. The pin, spacers and one of the locating bearings were missing from the lever.

Killed: Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha PICTURE: AFP

‘The locking nut and pin carrier were found loose in the tail rotor fairing and were bonded together (they should be separate components).’

The failure of the rotor caused the helicopter to violently veer to the right which led to it crashing in a fireball, the report concluded.

Doomed: The helicopter lands on the pitch before its final flight PICTURE: CAMERASPORT/GETTY

Also killed in the crash were the Thai football boss’s assistants Kavenporn Punpare and Nusara Suknamai, 33, the pilot Eric Swaffer, 53, and his 46-year-old partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz.

The eight-page report recommended five safety requirements be made to all AW169 helicopters to prevent future tragedies.