Memorial garden to open in memory of Leicester City helicopter crash victims

27 October 2019, 08:37 | Updated: 27 October 2019, 10:16

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha died in a helicopter crash at Leicester City's ground
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha died in a helicopter crash at Leicester City's ground. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

A memorial garden honouring the five victims of last year's King Power Stadium helicopter crash in Leicester opens today to mark the first anniversary of the tragedy.

The Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Memorial Garden, built on the accident site as a lasting tribute to the victims, will open with a private multi-faith ceremony.

The Leicester City owner died alongside staff members Kaveporn Punpare and Nusara Suknamai, pilot Eric Swaffer and crew member Izabela Lechowicz when the helicopter came down near the stadium shortly after take-off from the pitch.

The memorial garden will be open to the public from 2pm until 5pm and during daylight hours thereafter, and is designed to be a peaceful space that will protect the scene of the accident and provide a lasting memorial.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is expected to publish a final report into the crash next year.

AAIB chief inspector of air accidents Crispin Orr said: "Today marks the first anniversary of the helicopter accident in Leicester, in which five people lost their lives.

"Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy.

"During the course of the investigation, the AAIB has been working closely with the helicopter manufacturer, other specialist organisations and regulators to identify the cause of the accident and any contributory factors.

"We have published two special bulletins. The first highlighted the initial facts identified in the early stages of the investigation and the second identified that the accident was caused by the failure of the duplex bearing in the helicopter's yaw control system.

Mr Orr added: "All parties involved in the investigation continue to work to fully understand what initiated the failure of the duplex bearing and to develop any additional safety actions."

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