2015/16 Premier League Champions Leicester City's Owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Amongst 5 Dead After Helicopter Crash

Football News

Premier League club Leicester City's owner and Thai businessman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was among the five to lose their lives in the aftermath of the tragic helicopter crash close the club's stadium on Saturday

Written By Digital Desk | Mumbai | Updated On:

Premier League club Leicester City's owner and Thai businessman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was among the five to lose their lives in the aftermath of the tragic helicopter crash close the club's stadium on Saturday.

Srivaddhanaprabha, along with a couple of members of his staff, pilot Eric Swaffer and passenger Izabela Roza Lechowicz have been confirmed dead from the accident which took place on Saturday. The club released a statement, informing about the passing away of Srivaddhanaprabha.

A stream of fans already fearing the worst had laid out flowers, football scarves and Buddhist prayers outside the grounds after Saturday's accident in tribute to Vichai 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 a 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.

Eyewitnesses said the helicopter appeared to develop a mechanical problem in its rear propeller shortly after takeoff. Images showed orange balls of flame engulfing the wreckage in the car park at King Power Stadium -- the scene of unbridled jubilation after Leicester's Premier League victory two years ago.

Prayers and tributes poured in from across Britain from the footballing world and beyond for the jovial man many credit with bringing glory to the central English city with the miracle-making club.

Thai businessman Vichai, who has poured millions into the club, often takes off from the pitch in his helicopter when he attends a Leicester home game but it is not known whether he was in the aircraft when it crashed. Freelance photographer Ryan Brown, who was covering the game, told BBC Radio 5 Live he saw the helicopter rise out of the stadium before it crashed.

"Literally the engine stopped and I turned around, and it made a bit of a whirring noise. It turned silent, blades started spinning and then there was a big bang," he said. He added he saw "a huge fireball" when he ran to the scene.

Sky Sports said the helicopter took off from the pitch between 1930 and 1945 GMT (1 am and 1:15 am IST) but developed problems shortly afterwards with its tail rotor. The local ambulance service said it was alerted at 2138 GMT.

READ: Helicopter Owned By Leicester City's Thai Chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Crashes Near The Stadium

"We sent a doctor, two paramedics in ambulance cars, a crewed ambulance and our Hazardous Area Response Team, with the first resource arriving within two minutes of the call," it tweeted.

(With inputs from PTI)

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