The charismatic president of the Leicester City English soccer club, Thai Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, and four other people died in the helicopter crash that occurred Saturday on the outskirts of King Power Stadium, the club said. Sunday night soccer.
“It is with deepest regret and heartbreak that we confirm that our president, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was among those who tragically lost their lives Saturday night when a helicopter carrying him and four others crashed. outside the King Power Stadium. None of the five people on board survived, “said the club in this central city in a statement posted on its website.
Police identified the other four victims as Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, two members of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s team, Eric Swaffer, the pilot, and Izabela Roza Lechowicz, who was a passenger.
The club praised the “kindness” and “generosity” of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, a “great man” whose “life was defined by the love he devoted to his family and those he directed with so much success.
The club announced the postponement of Tuesday’s match against Southampton in the League Cup.
Many soccer fans flocked to the stadium, shattered by the tragedy all day Sunday, dropping bouquets of flowers and scarves in the colors of the club, or taking their time in silence.
Sixty-year-old John Welford called Srivaddhanaprabha “fantastic.” “He’s the best owner we’ve ever had,” he told reporters.
Srivaddhanaprabha used to leave the stadium with his helicopter taking off from the center of the pitch when he attended a Leicester home games.
The British Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB), sent a team of investigators to determine the cause of the accident that took place after Leicester drew 1 -1 with West Ham in a Premier League match.
According to Leicestershire police, the helicopter “fell on a parking lot near the stadium shortly after 8:30 pm (19:30 GMT) Saturday night.
Before the club confirmed the death of its president, soccer players and fans already feared the worst, after seeing the images of the helicopter ravaged by impressive flames.
Former England international and Leicester soccer player Gary Lineker told Twitter he had a “broken heart”. “It’s a tragedy for the club. I am terribly sad, “had also reacted on the French coach of Leicester Claude Puel.
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was a 60-year-old Thai billionaire whose fortune was estimated in 2016 at $ 2.9 billion.
He had bought Leicester City for about 40 million pounds in 2010 when no one bet on this English club which then played in the second division.
He had managed to make him the most unlikely Premier League champion of all time, in 2016, making the little club live a real fairy tale.
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was very popular with fans of the “Foxes” – the nickname of the club’s players – some of whom were crying Sunday.
“I could not sleep at night,” told AFP one of them, Kanti Patel, voice broken.
“What he did for Leicester is unbelievable,” former club manager Sven-Goran Erikssen told BBC5live. He described an “extremely generous” man, present at every game, with his family.
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, also a polo enthusiast, was familiar to the powerful people of Thailand, first and foremost the royal family. His name, Srivaddhanaprabha, was awarded to him in 2013 by the King of Thailand.
This fervent Buddhist leaves behind four children. His son Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, nicknamed “Top”, is vice-president of the club.