Friday, 18 Jan 2019

The owner of Leicester City killed in a helicopter crash outside the stadium

Fans leave flowers in front of King Power Stadium in Leicester. (Tim Keeton / REX)

Leicester City fans, young and old, gathered Sunday at King Power Stadium, bringing trinkets and flowers to the entrance the day after the helicopter owned by Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who burned in a parking lot, killing the club owner and four others, the club announced.

Srivaddhanaprabha, the popular Thai owner and billionaire who often flew by helicopter to his English Premier League matches, was leaving the stadium after a 1-1 draw against West Ham when the incident occurred.

Prior to the club's announcement, Leicestershire police called for patience and said it expected a lengthy investigation with no immediate information.

"We understand that the crash of the helicopter outside King Power Stadium is attracting considerable public and media interest. The news of the accident, occurring in a parking lot near the stadium just after 20:30, has had an impact on many people and we are aware that there is a clear desire to update and clarify the situation, "the authorities said in a statement.

"The Leicestershire Police, the East Midlands Ambulance Services and the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Services all responded to the incident last night and investigations are continuing today." 39 at the scene, led by the Air Accident Investigation Division. These investigations should continue over the next few days. "

"Emergency services were immediately on the scene when the accident occurred. They were trying to extinguish the fire and access the helicopter to try to reach those who were inside, said Supt. Steve Potter said (via the BBC). "Despite these efforts, there were no survivors."

In addition to Srivaddhanaprabha, the other passengers killed in the accident included two members of its staff, Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare. Pilot Eric Swaffer and another passenger, Izabela Roza Lechowicz, have also died. The helicopter, according to the Telegraph, was destined for Luton Airport, Srivaddhanaprabha having to travel to Thailand. Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, son of the owner and vice-president of the team, traveled to England from Thailand on Sunday morning.

The Leicester players, whose goaltender Kasper Schmeichel, and the former guardian of Leicester and England's Peter Shilton, were among those who were crying, while the fire had been burning for over 20 minutes.

"We are both shocked when we return home. It happened right in front of us as we were leaving the ground, "said Shilton's wife Stephanie at the Telegraph. "We do not know what happened. It's terrible. We need to know if everyone is fine. It's the biggest thing. We simply hope everyone has come out of agreement. "

A screenshot of the video posted on Twitter shows flames from the wreckage of the helicopter. (AFP photo / @LEO_BRUKA's Twitter account)

On Instagram, the team's star striker, Jamie Vardy, Srivaddhanaprabha said, "You have a hard time finding the right words … but for me, you are a legend, an incredible man who had the biggest heart, the soul of the Leicester City football club. Thank you for everything you have done for me, my family and our club. I'm really going to miss you … May you rest in peace. "

On social media, players from other English Premier League teams reacted with shock and sadness.

"A really sad day for football", Mohamed Salah of Liverpool says on Twitter. "My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those who tragically died."

"My deepest condolences to the Leicester family. RIP to all those who lost their lives, "David Silva of Manchester City wrote. And teammate Sergio Aguero said"My heart is for you", adding the hashtag "#PrayForLeicester".

"To players, staff and fans who have been affected by this tragedy", said Ashley Young from Manchester United"Please, know that you are all in our prayers."

Srivaddhanaprabha was the owner or Thai company duty-free King Power and, according to Forbes, the fifth richest man in Thailand, with an estimated net worth of $ 4.9 billion. He and his family bought the football club in 2010, which won the league title six years later. This improbable victory makes him a fan favorite.

A fan, holder of a subscription for 40 years, told the Guardian that the helicopter was spinning.

"He hit the ground with a big bang and then caught fire," Tim Acott said, adding that he did not believe that fans were affected. "It's on the other side of the parking lot, I do not think there were people there. I tremble as if nothing. "

Premier League players wore a black armband in Sunday's matches.

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