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Helicopter crash investigators publish initial findings

  • The report reveals the helicopter's activities earlier in the day
  • It describes in stark detail what happened when it crashed, and the catastrophic damage to the aircraft
Credit: PA

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has published its first report on the Helicopter crash, which killed five people after leaving Leicester's King Power Stadium last month.

The wreckage of the aircraft was taken away from outside the ground to the AAIB's specialist investigation site in Farnborough on 1 November.

The interim report reveals in the starkest of terms the fate of those on board, and the impact on the helicopter.

The helicopter's journey

  • The helicopter took off on its first flight of the day from Fairoaks Airport, Surrey, just before 2pm, with the pilot and passenger on board.
  • It landed just after 2pm in Battersea, where three other people got on board.
  • The helicopter took off from Battersea at 2.15pm and flew to the Belvoir Drive Training Ground, landing just before 3pm.
  • Everyone on board went to the King Power Stadium, Leicester.
  • The pilot and a passenger returned to the training ground and at 6.45pm, it took off, with two people on board, for the short flight to the King Power stadium.
Credit: PA

The crash

  • Between 7pm and 7.30pm the pilot and four passengers boarded the helicopter for a flight to London Stansted Airport.
  • The helicopter started up at 7.34pm and at 7.37pm, it lifted up from the centre of the pitch circle.
  • Gear retraction started as it passed through a height of approximately 320 ft.
  • The helicopter's climb then paused.
  • The direction of the helicopter was initially consitent with the direction of pedal movements that were recorded.
  • It then began to point right - contrary to the pilot’s left pedal command.
  • The helicopter reached a height of approximately 430 ft before descending with a high rotation rate.

The helicopter struck the ground in an approximately upright position on a stepped concrete surface, with the landing gear retracted, and rolled onto its left side.

The helicopter was rapidly engulfed in an intense post-impact fire. Stadium staff and emergency services were quickly at the scene but were not able to gain access to the helicopter because of the intensity of the fire.

– AAIB report
Leicester City players paid tribute at the ground Credit: PA

The weather

The report says that at the time of the accident the weather was clear with good visibility and no cloud below 1,000 ft.

The wreckage

It confirms that the aircraft came to rest on an area of land next to the King Power stadium car park.

The post-impact fire resulted in substantial damage to the predominantly composite structure of the helicopter.

Several sections of the airframe were almost completely consumed by the fire and large sections of the remaining fuselage suffered significant loss of structural integrity.

– AAIB report
Five people were killed in the helicopter crash, including Leicester City's chairman Credit: ITV Central

The report reiterates that safety checks have been ordered on the tail rotors of helicopters similar to the aircraft

READ: Wreckage moved to specialist facility for specialist investigators to examine

Ongoing investigation

The AAIB say that cause of the apparent loss of 'yaw' control - the direction the aircraft was pointing - has yet to be determined.

An investigation of the tail rotor control system is being carried out as a priority.

There will also be a "comprehensive examination" of:

  • The helicopter wreckage
  • Recovery and analysis of recorded data from the Combined Voice and Flight Data Recorder (CVFDR), aircraft systems and other sources.
  • An assessment of the operation, maintenance, design and manufacture of the aircraft.
Thousands of tributes have been paid to the late owner of Leicester City Football Club Credit: ITV Central

The crash killed five people including the Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Flowers and tributes have poured in for weeks to the stadium and a statue has been confirmed of the late chairman.

WATCH: How a city paid tribute to one of its own WATCH: Leicester City players pay tribute

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