Leicester

Leicester City helicopter crash officers honoured for rescue attempt

L to R: PC Kevin Marsh, PC Steve Quartermain, PC Michael Hinton, Sgt Mike Hooper Image copyright Martis Media
Image caption (L-R): PC Kevin Marsh, PC Steve Quartermain, PC Michael Hinton and Sgt Mike Hooper were first at the scene

Four police officers who tried to save Leicester City's owner and four others killed in a helicopter crash have been nominated for bravery awards.

Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's aircraft came down shortly after taking off from the club's stadium on 27 October.

The officers suffered heat and scorch marks to their faces after running towards the burning wreckage.

Their efforts are being recognised at the National Police Bravery Awards.

Leicester City chairman Mr Vichai, two members of his staff - Nusara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare - and pilots Eric Swaffer and Izabela Roza Lechowicz were killed when the helicopter crashed shortly after the Foxes' match against West Ham.

Image caption (L-R): Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, Kaveporn Punpare, Nusara Suknamai, Izabela Roza Lechowicz and Eric Swaffer

PC Steve Quartermain, PC Kevin Marsh, PC Michael Hinton and Sgt Mike Hooper had been on duty during the game when they heard reports of the crash.

Leo Bruka told 5 Live in October that he saw two police officers whose car was near the scene.

"One of them was looking for something and the other one, he ran straight away to the helicopter and he was trying to break the window," he said.

"Then there is an explosion and they pulled back because the fire was too hot."

Image copyright Martis Media
Image caption Sgt Mike Hooper (right) said the men had had to come to terms with not being able to save the five victims

Sgt Hooper said: "We were just doing our job. We have had to come to terms with the fact that we couldn't save the five victims."

PC Marsh said: "I've never really thought about what I actually did that evening, but placed in that situation, would I do the exact same thing again? Yes I would."

Dave Stokes, chairman of Leicestershire Police Federation, said: "In the blink of an eye, they risked their own lives in an attempt to get to the occupants."

The National Police Bravery Awards will be held in July, hosted by the Police Federation of England and Wales.

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