Heroic Leicester City Helicopter Pilot Was 'Living The Dream' With Girlfriend
The 'hero' pilot of the helicopter that crashed outside Leicester City's stadium was 'living the dream' and travelling the world with his soulmate, according to a friend.
Eric Swaffer died alongside his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz in the crash which also killed Leicester City Football Club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and two of his staff members, Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare.
Mr Swaffer has since been dubbed a 'hero' by witnesses who said he guided the spinning aircraft away from crowds that were leaving the King Power stadium following Leicester's 1-1 draw to West Ham.
The Mirror reported that Lucie Morris-Marr, who was friends with Mr Swaffer for 18 years, said he would have done all he could to prevent lives being lost in the incident.
She told the Press Association: "Having been lucky to have known him as a friend and flown with him a few times as a passenger, it doesn't surprise me that he would have done all he could to save lives and do everything in his power to avoid a worse outcome in those final moments. He was an incredible person and very focused when flying."
She went on to describe him as 'extremely funny, charming and cheeky with a wicked sense of humour', adding: "Everyone loved him. I'm not surprised the chairman hired him. He was always great company.
"I would always ask him about his famous clients but he was so discreet which is why they hired him, of course.
"He was so generous and kind to his friends - when I lived in London he once flew us in a helicopter to a country hotel for afternoon tea.
"He loved his life. And he seemed to be living the dream flying with his girlfriend. Which is why their sudden passing in this tragedy is so terribly, terribly sad."
Ms Morris-Marr said the couple had been together for about a decade. Ms Lechowicz was also a professional pilot from Poland.
Speaking to Stephen Nolan on BBC Radio 5 Live, Ms Morris-Marr described their romance as an "aviation love story", adding: "Not many people get to work and travel with their soulmate, travelling the world going to glamorous places."
Ms Lechowicz was selected as one of 18 exceptional Polish women who inspired the community in the UK for being a pilot.
Writing earlier this year about becoming a pilot as part of the project to celebrate women getting the vote in Poland in 1918, she said she was inspired by her partner.
It's with great sadness that we received news of Izabela Lechowicz's death in the Leicester helicopter crash. She was a wonderful pilot & a #Polka100 campaign finalist who created a positive image of Poland in the UK. Our deepest condolences to her family. https://t.co/tRV9PzCpQb
- Polish Embassy UK (@PolishEmbassyUK) October 28, 2018
The profile read: "I also met my partner, who back then worked as an airline and helicopter pilot. He took me out for a few flights, and that is how it all started.
"I knew this is something I want to do from the moment I touched the controls for the first time."
Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Eric Swaffer