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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Leicester City crash helicopter rotor pedals failed, according to probe

Death of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha shocked global sport and left small city in mourning two years after improbable first and only championship season

A Leicester City supporter holds a scarf in tribute to the late chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. Reuters
A Leicester City supporter holds a scarf in tribute to the late chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. Reuters

Disconnected cockpit pedals caused the helicopter crash that killed the Thai billionaire owner of Leicester City football club and four others on October 28, a British investigation found on Thursday.

The death of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha shocked global sport and left the small city in the heart of England in mourning two years after their improbable first and only championship season.

The helicopter, decorated in the blue and white colours of the team, spun out of control on takeoff moments after it cleared the stadium's roof.

Vichai attended most Leicester home matches, landing and taking off from the centre of the pitch.

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Read more:

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'Forever in our hearts': Leicester City pay emotional tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

Leicester City to rely on 'spirit' and fan support in first home match since owner's death

In pictures: Leicester City players arrive in Thailand for Srivaddhanaprabha's funeral

Son of Leicester City owner vows to continue Srivaddhanaprabha's 'big mission'

In pictures: Players and mourners pay tribute to the Leicester City owner

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Britain's Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) said a series of cockpit pedals had somehow become disconnected from the rotor on the helicopter's tail.

"The loss of control of the helicopter resulted from the tail rotor actuator control shaft becoming disconnected from the actuator lever mechanism," the eight-page AAIB report said.

The helicopter began to spin uncontrollably to the right as a result.

The AAIB said it was treating a further probe into what caused the pedals to disconnect "as a priority".

Europe's aviation safety authorities have ordered mandatory checks on the type of helicopter involved, finding no other problems to date.