In Brief

Leicester City in shock: Tributes flood in for owner who died in helicopter crash

The club is reeling after death of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and has postponed the game against Southampton

Leicester City have postponed their Carabao Cup clash with Southampton as the club reels from the death of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in a helicopter crash at the club’s ground on Saturday.

Players, staff and fans have been left devastated by the tragedy. A book of condolences will be opened at the King Power stadium on Tuesday, where supporters have been leaving flowers, shirts, scarves and other messages of support and sorrow. Members of Srivaddhanaprabha’s family visited the ground on Monday.

The club released a statement that said: “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. None of the five people on-board survived.

“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.

“In Khun Vichai, the world has lost a great man. 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.”

The other victims have been named as Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare - members of Srivaddhanaprabha’s staff - pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz.

The helicopter came down in a car park near the ground, shortly after it took off from the pitch. Eyewitnesses said the engines appeared to cut out shortly before it came down and exploded in a fireball.

Tributes to the Leicester owner, who masterminded the club’s astonishing title triumph in 2016, have been pouring in from players, pundits, fans and the wider football community.

Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who witnessed the crash, said: “I am so totally devastated and heartbroken. I just cannot believe what I saw last night. It just doesn't seem real.”

“A helicopter rising from the pitch to sweep a billionaire owner away from a game was a symbol of how far Leicester City have come,” writes Paul Hayward in The Daily Telegraph. “That aircraft ditching and exploding in flames in an adjacent car park affirmed how fragile life and the good times are. 

"Witnesses to a miracle, in May 2016, thousands came in October 2018 to observe the brutal opposite of civic joy.”

Henry Winter of The Times said “a river of grief” flowed towards the stadium after the tragedy. 

“Vichai gave Leicester their greatest moment, the against-all-odds 2015-16 Premier League title triumph. And now the club have been engulfed in tragedy.

“Vichai was respected because he made dreams come true, because he clearly loved football, and travelled thousands of miles from Bangkok to watch his team play when he could easily have tuned in from the comfort of his own home.”

Recommended

The details of Rishi Sunak’s cost-of-living crisis plan
Rishi Sunak
Getting to grips with . . .

The details of Rishi Sunak’s cost-of-living crisis plan

How to regain your smell and taste after Covid-19
Woman smelling lavender
Getting to grips with . . .

How to regain your smell and taste after Covid-19

Champions League final guide: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid
The Uefa Champions League trophy on display in Paris ahead of the 2022 final
The big match

Champions League final guide: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

How Britain put an end to mass shootings
Tributes left outside Dunblane Primary School following the mass shooting
In Depth

How Britain put an end to mass shootings

Popular articles

Is Russian President Vladimir Putin seriously ill?
Vladimir Putin
Why we’re talking about . . .

Is Russian President Vladimir Putin seriously ill?

Are assassins trying to kill Putin?
Vladimir Putin hosting a meeting in the Kremlin via video link
Behind the scenes

Are assassins trying to kill Putin?

What could happen if China invaded Taiwan?
Chinese troops on mobile rocket launchers during a parade in Beijing
Fact file

What could happen if China invaded Taiwan?

The Week Footer Banner