Leicester helicopter wreckage removed

BBC Image copyright PA
Image caption Work on removing the helicopter wreckage has finished

The wreckage of the helicopter which crashed near to Leicester City’s stadium has been removed.

Club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha died along with two members of his staff, the pilot and a passenger when the aircraft came down just after taking off from the King Power Stadium.

Mr Vichai’s funeral is to begin in Thailand on Saturday.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said it has begun examining parts of the wreckage.

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An AAIB spokesman said the wreckage has arrived at their specialist facility in Farnborough and their inspectors gathered all the evidence that could be collected from the scene.

The wreckage will be “laid out and more detailed examination can continue”, he added.

“The digital flight recorder is in our laboratory. Although subject to intense heat in the post-accident fire, initial work on it has allowed us to successfully download the recordings.

“Our inspectors are verifying the extracted information and have started the detailed analysis of its contents,” said the spokesman.

chairman Image copyright AFP
Image caption A crane helped move the wreckage
eastmidsnews@bbc.co.uk Image copyright PA
Image caption The wreckage will be examined in detail at specialist facilities in Farnborough

Media in Thailand are reporting that Mr Vichai’s body has now arrived in Bangkok.

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A black vehicle, thought to be carrying the body, was seen travelling from Don Mueang airport to the temple where the funeral is scheduled to take place on Saturday.

Nusara Suknamai, Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner, Izabela Roza Lechowicz, also died in the crash last Saturday.

Police have now formally identified four of the victims, but coroners are still yet to formally confirm the identify of Mr Kaveporn.

Eric Swaffer Image copyright Getty Images/Facebook/Instagram
Image caption (L-R): Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, Kaveporn Punpare, Nusara Suknamai, Izabela Roza Lechowicz and Eric Swaffer were killed in the crash
Getty Images Image copyright Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption The first attending fire crews to the helicopter crash visited the memorial outside the stadium and laid five white roses, one of each victim

Leicester City are due to play Cardiff on Saturday, which will be their first game since the crash. They were due to play Southampton in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, but the match was rescheduled.

In a press conference on Thursday, Leicester manager Claude Puel said the result at the Cardiff game was “not important”.

He added that Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, named as one of the first people on the scene after the helicopter crashed, “saw a lot of things”.

An eyewitness saw Schmeichel run out from the stadium on Saturday night followed by “loads of security guards and stewards”.

Puel said: “Kasper, like the other players, has a lot of history with the chairman and they are all devastated.”

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Puel added that the players have been given the opportunity to attend Mr Vichai’s funeral.

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