Viet Nam News
LONDON — Leicester City has confirmed that its Thai billionaire owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was killed along with four others after his helicopter crashed and then burst into flames after a Premier League match on Saturday Oct 27.
"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," the statement said.
The aircraft came down in a car park near the stadium shortly after 8.30pm (3.30am Sunday, Singapore time), about an hour after the end of Leicester City’s game against West Ham United.
The other victims were believed to be two members of his staff, Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and passenger Izabela Roza Lechowicz, Leicestershire Police said.
No one on the ground was believed to have been injured, they said.
According to witnesses, the helicopter had barely cleared the top of the stadium before it started to spin. It then plummeted to the ground and burst into flames.
John Butcher, who was near the stadium at the time of the crash, told the BBC his nephew saw the helicopter spiral out of control apparently because of a faulty rear propeller.
"Within a second, it dropped like a stone to the floor. ... Luckily it did spiral for a little while and everybody sort of ran, sort of scattered."
Srivaddhanaprabha, 60, the owner of Thailand’s King Power duty-free empire, was a regular at matches who used to fly to and from home games.
He and the four other victims boarded the blue craft, which took off from the middle of the pitch once the stadium had emptied after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with West Ham.
A stream of fans laid out flowers, football scarves and Buddhist prayers outside the grounds after Saturday’s accident in tribute to Srivaddhanaprabha - the man they credit for an against-all-odds Premiership victory in 2016.
"The world has lost a great man," the club said in its statement.
"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 said.
A book of condolence will be opened at the stadium from Tuesday and the team postponed its fixture against Southampton.
"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," the statement said. — AFP