Sporting Life · Columnist
Leicester City have confirmed the death of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha along with four others on board the helicopter which crashed outside the King Power Stadium on Saturday evening.
Srivaddhanaprabha and four others lost their lives after the aircraft came down in the club’s car park shortly after 8:30pm, following Leicester’s Premier League match with West Ham.
Leicestershire Police stated that while formal identification was yet to take place, the other fatalities were believed to be two members of Srivaddhanaprabha’s staff, Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and passenger Izabela Roza Lechowicz.
Witnesses told Sky Sports the helicopter took off from the pitch but lost control within a few seconds and crashed into a car park used by staff of the club.
Srivaddhanaprabha routinely left the stadium by his helicopter and reports on Sunday confirmed that one registered in his name had flown north from London shortly before Saturday’s match.
A statement from the club, released on Sunday evening, read:
“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.
“A book of condolence, which will be shared with the Srivaddhanaprabha family, will be opened at King Power Stadium from 8am on Tuesday 30 October for supporters wishing to pay their respects.
“Supporters unable to visit King Power Stadium that wish to leave a message can do so through an online book of condolence, which will be made available via lcfc.com in due course.
“Both Tuesday’s First Team fixture against Southampton in the EFL Cup and the Development Squad fixture against Feyenoord in the Premier League International Cup have been postponed.
“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.”
Srivaddhanaprabha will be fondly remembered after overseeing Leicester’s shock rise to the very top of the English game under then-manager Claudio Ranieri.
The Thai bought the Foxes in 2010 when they were still in the Championship, before sealing promotion to the top flight.
After dramatically avoiding relegation from the Premier League under Nigel Pearson the following season, Srivaddhanaprabha appointed Ranieri, who went on to lead the club to a shock Premier League title triumph which made headlines the world over.
Their remarkable success saw Leicester compete in the Champions League with the support of Srivaddhanaprabha’s King Power firm, who also own Belgian club OH Leuven.