Senior firefighter praises emergency services after tragic helicopter crash

By Conor de Smith.

A senior firefighter praised the efforts of the emergency services after a tragic helicopter crash which resulted in the deaths of five people last Saturday night.

The aircraft, which belonged to Leicester City FC owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, came down outside the King Power Stadium before bursting into flames.

Mr Srivaddhanaprabha, two members of his staff and two pilots were killed when the aircraft spiralled out of control and crashed in a fireball.

Witnesses say the accident occured at 8.30pm, just over an hour after Leicester drew 1-1 against West Ham United in the Premier League.

Andrew Brodie, Assistant Chief Fire Officer at Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, was part of the heroic effort to extinguish the ferocious blaze and praised the work of the emergency services.

“Honestly, your police, ambulance and fire responders are magnificent, caring and dedicated. Don’t ever forget it,” he said.

“You would have to go a long way to find an organisation that deals with a disaster better than the fire service. It’s our job, we get trained and developed to deal with a crisis like Saturday.”

Mr Brodie was working involved in multiple multi-agency strategy meetings between the fire, police and ambulance services at the headquarters of Leicestershire Police throughout the night as well as visiting the scene.

“We had a face-to-face meeting with police and fire with ambulance joining by telephone within two hours. That was important so we could share the information we had to get a clear, less ambiguous picture of what’s going on.

“It’s like any other meeting; you go in with your agenda, agree on the priorities, agree who is going to action those priorities, agree when we are next going to meet and, if we do meet, what we need to have done in between those times and what will we need to be considering,” he said.

The local fire service was dealing with three simultaneous incidents which stretched resources between the crash, a commercial fire and an incident at a high-rise building in the city centre.

“All at the same time we had an automatic fire alarm at a high-rise building which receives four fire engines, we had a deep-fat fryer fire on Granby Street and the helicopter crash. There were three incidents that were pulling our resources.”

Flowers and other tributes are being left near the scene of the crash, while other members of the public have been paying tribute elsewhere in the city.

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