The Thai owner of 2016 English Premier League title-winning club Leicester City, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, died in a helicopter crash, the club confirmed in a statement. As per the football franchise, he was among the five people who died after the helicopter crashed and burst into the flames shortly after it took off from the King Power Stadium on Saturday. In the statement, Leicester City said, “The world has lost a great man,” Leicester said in a statement. “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.”
“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,” the statement added.
Here is what happened
As per the reports, the helicopter came down in a car park behind the King Power Stadium after the culmination of Leicester’s football match against West Ham which ended in a 1-1 draw. As per the eyewitnesses of the incident cited by Sun, the helicopter lost control just after a few seconds and crashed into the club’s staff car park. The Air Accident Investigation Branch is currently leading an investigation into the cause of the accident.
Theres a major incident by the King Power Stadium. Emergency services attending. pic.twitter.com/GtAbo6AHpD
— Mr Geoff Peters (@mrgeoffpeters) 27 October 2018
“It is likely to take several days to fully complete the necessary work and to safely deal with the scene of this tragic accident,” Leicestershire Police Superintendent Steve Potter told news agency AP.
Who all died
None of the five people on board the aircraft survived the crash. The plane was carrying aboard pilot Eric Swaffer, 53, and his girlfriend Roza Lechowics, 46. One of the friends of Vichai Nusara Suknamai and the runner-up Miss Thailand Universe 2005, Kaveporn Punpare has died in the crash.
According to a report by the Sun, the pilot Swaffer saved several lives by steering the helicopter away from fans and a hotel in a “dead man’s curve”. “The pilot was heroic. That helicopter could have crashed into the stadium, into the media compound where TV crews were packing up, or into the car park where I was. He crashed in part of the grounds or car park where there wasn’t anyone. It could have been so much worse if the pilot hadn’t done that,” Cameron Dan Cox was quoted as saying to the newspaper.
Cox, who works for Sky, further described the incident: “I heard the helicopter come out of the stadium. I looked up and it was just spinning in the same position, out of control. I’d never seen anything like it. Then, and I don’t know how, the pilot seemed to somehow slow down the spinning rotation and it just drifted off into that corner part of the car park. Two police officers in front of me also tried to help. They are heroes too.”
In the aftermath of the tragedy, the football club has announced that the next fixture of the club will be postponed. Leicester City was scheduled to play English Football League fixture against Southampton on Tuesday. “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,” he said.
The football community came out strongly in support of Leicester City and paid their respect to the owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
— Leicester City (@LCFC) 28 October 2018
— Kasper Schmeichel (@kschmeichel1) 28 October 2018
— Christian Fuchs (@FuchsOfficial) 28 October 2018
Witnessed the crash @LCFC last night with my wife. Absolutely devastated and in shock our thoughts and prays are with everybody involved and Leicester City 🙏
— Peter Shilton (@Peter_Shilton) 28 October 2018
That was the most difficult @BBCMOTD I’ve ever hosted. Thoughts are with everyone at Leicester City. A terrible tragedy. Heartbreaking.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) 27 October 2018
Pray for everyone involved in the Leicester helicopter incident 🙏🏼💙 #PrayForLeicester
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) 28 October 2018
Leicester City are currently placed at the 10th position in EPL table with 13 points in 10 games.
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