The Leicester City owner and four others killed in a helicopter crash had ‘minimal’ opportunity to escape, an inquest heard today.
An inquest into the tragedy was opened and adjourned at Leicester Coroner’s Court.
During the 12-minute hearing held in Leicester Town Hall, the five victims were formally named.
Club chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, 60, died along with his assistants Kavenporn Punpare and Nusara Suknamai, 33.
Pilot Eric Swaffer, 53, and his girlfriend Izabela Roza Lechowicz, 46, were also killed in the crash at the King Power Stadium on October 27.
The helicopter was carrying popular owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, 60 (pictured in November 2016), who had ‘minimal’ opportunity to escape
Izabela Lechowicz and boyfriend Eric Swaffer pictured in the cockpit. The pair died as they guided the helicopter away from the crowded football stadium
Kaveporn Punpare was also among those who died in the Leicester city helicopter horror crash
One of the five dead in the Leicester City helicopter crash was former Thai beauty queen Nursara Suknamai. Ms Suknamai worked for billionaire football club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha but was also an ex-model. She is pictured in her last social media image
The inquest heard minutes before the fatal crash the victims were captured on CCTV standing in the players’ tunnel near the pitch.
Moments later they boarded Mr Srivaddhanaprabha’s AugustaWestland AW169 helicopter before the took off from the centre circle – a ritual the owner did following every home game.
A police officer who gave evidence at the inquest said there was minimal opportunity for anybody else to have got in or out of the aircraft in the moments before the crash.
He confirmed those who had died were Mr Srivaddhanaprabha, Nusara Suknamai, Kaveporn Punpare, Eric Swaffer and Izabela Lechowicz.
Thousands of tributes have been left outside the stadium after the news of the Leicester owner’s death.
Thousands of tributes have been left for Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and the four others killed in the helicopter crash
Leicester City’s squad are pictured on their knees at the funeral of their chairman Srivaddhanaprabha in Thailand on Sunday
Striker Jamie Vardy (right) is pictured praying after offering a floral tribute to his late boss Srivaddhanaprabha
Leicester City manager Claude Puel (left) looks sombre as he sits with goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel during the funeral
Giving evidence at the opening of the inquest, Detective Chief Superintendent David Sandall, of Leicestershire Police, said: ‘On Saturday October 27 there was a helicopter crash in the car park of the King Power StadIum.
‘Evidence from independent witnesses is that the people in the helicopter at the time were Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, Nusara Suknamai, Kaveporn Punpare, Eric Swaffer and Izabela Lechowicz.
‘CCTV shows the five victims in the tunnel at Leicester City football ground.’
He continued: ‘Mobile phone footage showed the helicopter spinning out of control before descending to the crash site.
‘There was minimal opportunity for anyone to get in or out of the helicopter at that time. The investigation is ongoing into the cause of the crash.’
Thai mourners arrive to attend the funeral at Wat Debsirindrawas Ratchaworawiharn Temple in Bangkok on Sunday
Eric Swaffer pictured with the Dalai Lama. Mr Swaffer had more than 20 years’ experience as a pilot
Nursara Suknamai with Leicester City players Harry Maguire (left), who also plays for England, and Wes Morgan (right)
Leicester Senior Coroner Catherine Mason adjourned the inquest for a later date.
She said: ‘The provisional cause of death is pending subject to further tests.
‘Therefore I’m not in a position to carry on at this time so I am suspending the inquest.’
No family or representatives from Leicester City FC were present at the hearing.