Leicester City FC owner dies in helicopter crash outside King Power Stadium

By Tyler Arthur and Ollie Heppenstall 

UPDATE – Wednesday: Leicestershire’s Senior Coroner has now formally confirmed that Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was one of the passengers who died in the tragic helicopter crash on Saturday night. The process of identifying the remaining four passengers is underway.

UPDATE – 10am Monday: As mentioned in the previous update we now know everyone who was on board – we would like to specifically mention that Srivaddhanaprabha’s daughter was not in the helicopter, as was previously reported.

BREAKING – 22:30pm:  Leicestershire Police have released the names of the other four passengers in the helicopter when it crashed yesterday night. Two of the chairman’s staff, Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, were on board as were pilot Eric Swaffer and passenger Isabela Lechowiz.

BREAKING – 22:05pm:  BBC news confirms the death of Leicester City FC chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in last night’s helicopter crash in the King Power stadium’s player’s car park.

UPTADE – 15:20pm: Following a Leicestershire Police request to be patient and to resist speculating about the circumstances surrounding last night’s incident, the live updates will cease until we hear of any more concrete details from the relevant authorities.

UPDATE – 14:45PM Sunday:  Sky Sports are reporting that the Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) have arrived at the crash site and are taking charge of investigations.

BREAKING – 13:13PM Sunday:  French media outlet CNEWS are reporting the death of Leicester City FC owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. More to follow.

UPDATE – 12:50pm Sunday:  It is being reported by BBC sport that the EFL are debating whether to postpone The Foxes’ Carabao Cup last-16 tie against fellow Premier League side Southampton next Tuesday night. The news follows the postponement of Leicester City Women’s game today.

UPDATE – 12pm Sunday:  It is being reported that a statement is to be released today, and that the helicopter crashed due to a failure shortly after take off from the centre circle of the King Power pitch.

UPDATE – 10am Sunday: It is being reported by both BBC Leicester and Sky Sports News that owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was on board the helicopter along with four other people; including the two pilots and his daughter.

UPDATE – 9am Sunday: It is being reported that Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was on board the helicopter at the time of the crash.

More updates to follow. 

Original Story – 12:30am Sunday October 28

Shock gripped the city tonight after the Leicester City FC owner’s helicopter lost control and crashed into an adjacent car park following their 1-1 draw with West Ham.

It is feared that the helicopter may have been carrying the club’s chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who usually leaves from home games via the aircraft.

It is not yet known who was on the helicopter, but fans outside the stadium all feared for the worst, specifically for Srivaddhanaprabha and his family, who sometimes attend the games.

The incident took place at around 9pm, by which time most fans had either left the area or were in one of the numerous local pubs, where many reported they saw the breaking news announcement.

Shocked: Crowds remained outside the stadium for hours after the crash occurred.

One fan said: “I saw the images that they were showing on Sky News, and so I rushed back to the stadium to see what was happening, there was still smoke when I arrived.”

Nathan Doore, 21, was on his way back from work just as the incident took place: “I was driving past the King Power and I saw the helicopter, it looked like it was struggling to stay in the air.

“It came down outside the stadium, and went up in flames instantly, as soon as it hit the floor. From what I saw, it’s almost inevitable that nobody on board survived.”

There have been numerous posts on social media ever since the crash occurred, some speculating and even images showing the flames and smoke from the crash site. Multiple individuals and other football clubs shared their support online, including their Saturday night opponents.

Twitter user @mrgeoffpeters captured the awful, chaotic scenes after the crash:

Leicester local Jamie Wrafter, 46, said: “I had seen the blue lights before the match, and straight after, so I didn’t think much of it at first – it’s always like that when West Ham come down.

“When I saw all of the police I thought it was just [away fans] kicking off, and there had already been a scrap earlier, but once I saw the fire engines that’s when I knew something was wrong.”

The Leicester fan of many years said that a local woman said something to him about a helicopter ‘out of control’. Shortly after, his wife called him from home having seen the news, and told him that Srivaddhanaprabha’s aircraft had gone down.

“It’s horrible. I just hope for the least casualties possible. It doesn’t matter who is on board for it to be awful, it’s a helicopter crash, but I really hope that it wasn’t Vichai, or his family,” Jamie continued, emotionally.

“They’re the best owners we’ve ever had. We won the league with these guys. Vichai is Leicester.”

Leicester City tweeted to confirm that they are working with Leicestershire Police, and stated that ‘the club will issue a statement once further information has been established.’

Lockdown: The police cordoned off the site of the crash immediately. [Featured image Courtesy of the BBC]
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