Leicester City owner among five helicopter crash victims

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 died when the aircraft crashed at about 20:30 BST on Saturday.

Witnesses said the helicopter just cleared the King Power Stadium before it spiralled out of control and crashed in a fireball.

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

Leicestershire Police said it believed the dead to be:

  • Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha
  • Two members of his staff Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare
  • Pilot Eric Swaffer
  • Passenger Izabela Roza Lechowicz

In a statement, Leicester City FC 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 Srivaddhanaprabha 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 and the team’s next fixture against Southampton in the EFL Cup has been postponed.

The club added that it had been “truly touched” by the response of the football community, which included the arch above Wembley Stadium being lit in blue and white.

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.”

Leicestershire Police said the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) had launched an investigation and a cordon remains in place.

The aircraft came down in a car park near the stadium and the force confirmed no-one else was injured.

Supt Steve Potter added: “This is an incredibly tragic incident in which five people are understood have lost their lives.

“Emergency services were immediately on 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.”

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