Confirmed: Leicester City Football Club Owner And Four People Die In Helicopter Crash

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The owner of Leicester City FC died when his helicopter crashed outside the stadium, the club has confirmed.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, two members of his staff, the pilot and a passenger were killed when the aircraft spiralled out of control and crashed in a fireball on Saturday.

It had just cleared the King Power Stadium when it came down at about 20:30 BST.

Thousands of bouquets and scarves have been left outside the ground.

Leicestershire Police said it believed the dead to be:

Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, two members of his staff, Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, Pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz.

Mr Vichai, 60, who was married and had four children, bought Leicester City for £39m in 2010.

Under his ownership the club won the Premier League in 2016, having started the season as 5,000/1 outsiders.

In a statement, Leicester City said the club’s thoughts were with “the Srivaddhanaprabha family and the families of all those on-board at this time of unspeakable loss”.

The club described Mr Vichai as “a man of kindness, of generosity and a man whose life was defined by the love he devoted to his family and those he so successfully led”.

“Leicester City was a family under his leadership. It is as a family that we will grieve his passing and maintain the pursuit of a vision for the club that is now his legacy,” it added.

A book of condolence will be opened at King Power Stadium from Tuesday morning. The team’s next fixture against Southampton in the EFL Cup, scheduled for Tuesday evening, has been postponed.

Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who witnesses said ran out of the stadium towards the crash scene, said Mr Vichai had “changed football forever”.

“I cannot believe this is happening. I am so totally devastated and heartbroken,” he added.

Club captain Wes Morgan tweeted “Absolutely heartbroken and devastated regarding the news of our chairman. A man that was loved and adored by everyone here at lcfc.”

Leicester City striker, Jamie Vardy also tweeted:

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said: “Vichai was a gentleman who graced the game with his civility and charm and we will miss him enormously.

“His impact on Leicester, the football club and the city will be remembered forever.”

Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan, West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur, Nottingham Forest and Swansea City were among the football clubs that passed on condolences to Leicester.

The helicopter came down in a car park near the stadium just over an hour after Leicester had drawn 1-1 against West Ham United in the Premier League.

Leicestershire Police confirmed no-one else had been injured and said the Air Accidents Investigation Branch had launched an investigation.

Supt Steve Potter said: “Emergency services were immediately on the scene when the crash happened, working to put out the fire and gain access to the helicopter in attempts to reach those inside.

“Despite those efforts, there were no survivors.”

Supt Potter said it was likely to take several days to complete the investigation at the crash site.

source: BBC

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