Leicester City helicopter crash: Family of pilot couple reflect one year on from their deaths

This weekend marks a year since the Leicester helicopter crash which killed five people, including the Chairman of Leicester City Football Club.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was killed, alongside two of his staff, and the helicopter's pilots - Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Lechowicz.

Eric taught Izabela to fly and they spent the next 20 years travelling around the world.

He took her for a couple of flights and then during one of them, he gave her the steering and said 'give it a try'. She was afraid in the first moment but then she kind of took it on board and he said to her 'you know what, you really have a talent, you know we should do something with it'. I think the happiest moments they had together was when they were flying together."

Kate Lechowicz, Izabela's sister
Eric taught Izabela to fly. Credit: Family handout

But it was while visiting Leicester that the couple's fairytale came to an end.

The helicopter was a familiar sight for fans - it was how Leicester City's chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, often left the stadium after a match.

But on 27th October 2018, it crashed - killing all five people on board.

It's thought Eric, the pilot, deliberately steered the helicopter to the wasteland, away from the car park and away from fans leaving the ground.

In the days after the crash, thousands of tributes were left outside the stadium.

A colleague of mine, in the early part of this, at the time, said Leicester has a big heart. And I think, over the last 12 months, Leicester has a big heart.

David Allen, Izabela's brother in law
It's thought Eric deliberately steered the helicopter away from fans. Credit: Family handout

In their first TV interview, the family described Eric as a hero, and Izabela as an exceptional woman:

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