He­li­copter crash in­ves­ti­ga­tors say tail ro­tor con­trols failed

Observer on Saturday - - Sport -

– Bri­tish air ac­ci­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tors look­ing into the cause of the he­li­copter crash that killed Le­ices­ter City soc­cer club owner Vichai Sri­vad­dhanaprabha said on Thurs­day that the fail­ure of the tail ro­tor mech­a­nism had caused the pi­lot to lose con­trol.

Thai busi­ness­man Vichai, 60, was killed on Oc­to­ber 27 along with four oth­ers when the he­li­copter crashed out­side the King Power Sta­dium in the cen­tral English city of Le­ices­ter after a Pre­mier League match.

Bri­tain’s Air Ac­ci­dents In­ves­ti­ga­tion Branch said in a “Spe­cial Bul­letin” on Thurs­day that the cock­pit ped­als had be­come dis­con­nected from the tail ro­tor.

“The ev­i­dence gath­ered to date shows that the loss of con­trol of the he­li­copter re­sulted from the tail ro­tor ac­tu­a­tor con­trol shaft be­com­ing dis­con­nected from the ac­tu­a­tor lever mech­a­nism,” the re­port said.

LONDON

The air­craft reached an alti­tude of ap­prox­i­mately 430 feet be­fore veer­ing to the right and plum­met­ing to the ground just out­side the sta­dium.

The he­li­copter’s man­u­fac­turer has al­ready is­sued a safety alert to all own­ers of the AW169 and the Euro­pean Avi­a­tion Safety Agency has is­sued a di­rec­tive man­dat­ing repet­i­tive in­spec­tions of the tail ro­tor con­trol mech­a­nism.

In­ves­ti­ga­tion

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­tin­ues into other fac­tors that may have contributed to the crash, the re­port con­cluded.

Pi­lot Eric Swaf­fer, his part­ner and co-pi­lot Iz­abela Roza Le­chow­icz as well as two mem­bers of Vichai’s staff, Nusara Suk­na­mai and Kave­porn Pun­pare, were also killed in the crash.

Vichai bought the un­her­alded cen­tral Eng­land side in 2010 and went on to stun the soc­cer world by beat­ing odds of 5 000/1to win the Pre­mier League ti­tle in 2016.

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