Leicester owner among five killed in crash
Leicester City have confirmed chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was among five people killed in a helicopter crash on Saturday night.
The 60-year-old Thai businessman was on board his own personal helicopter, which lost control and crashed in a car park at the King Power Stadium following Saturday’s match against West Ham.
Leicestershire police say the other four victims of the crash are believed to be two members of Srivaddhanaprabha’s staff, Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer, and second pilot Izabela Roza Lechowicz.
A Leicester club statement read: “It is with the deepest regret and a collective broken heart that we confirm our chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was among those to have tragically lost their lives on Saturday evening when a helicopter carrying him and four other people crashed outside King Power Stadium.
“None of the five people on board survived.
“The primary thoughts of everyone at the club are with the Srivaddhanaprabha family and the families of all those on-board at this time of unspeakable loss.
“In Khun Vichai, the world has lost a great man.
“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.”
Srivaddhanaprabha, who founded the retail company King Power Duty Free, bought Leicester in August 2010 and became the club’s chairman less than six months later.
Under his ownership, Leicester secured promotion to the top-flight in 2014 and, against odds of 5,000-1, won the 2015/16 Premier League title.
The Leicester statement added: “A book of condolence, which will be shared with the Srivaddhanaprabha family, will be opened at King Power Stadium from 8am on Tuesday 30 October, for supporters wishing to pay their respects.
“Supporters unable to visit King Power Stadium that wish to leave a message can do so through an online book of condolence, which will be made available via lcfc.com in due course.
“Both Tuesday’s First Team fixture against Southampton in the EFL Cup and the Development Squad fixture against Feyenoord in the Premier League International Cup have been postponed.
“Everyone at the club has been truly touched by the remarkable response of the football family, whose thoughtful messages of support and solidarity have been deeply appreciated at this difficult time.”
A Leicestershire Police statement read: “The aircraft came down in a car park near the stadium shortly after 8.30pm with Leicestershire Police, East Midlands Ambulance Service and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service all responding to the incident.
“No one else is believed to have been injured.
“The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is leading the investigation into the accident and a cordon remains in place at the scene while enquiries continue.”
Superintendent Steve Potter said: “This is an incredibly tragic incident, in which five people are understood have lost their lives.
“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.
“The AAIB is now leading an investigation to establish the exact circumstances surrounding the crash and investigators will remain at the scene to complete their initial enquiries.
“Our thoughts today are with the families of those who have sadly died, with Leicester City Football Club, and with both football supporters and the wider local community, who have all been impacted by the events of last night and the news that those on board the aircraft have not survived.”
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