Published: Tue, October 30, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Leicester crash: Prince William releases statement on Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s death

Leicester crash: Prince William releases statement on Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s death

Vichai was Thailand's fifth richest man when he died in a helicopter crash after watching his beloved Leicester City play on Saturday.

The Thai billionaire was among five people killed when his helicopter crashed shortly after taking off from the King Power Stadium on Saturday evening.

Vichai bought the unheralded central England side in 2010 and went on to stun the soccer world by beating odds of 5,000/1 to win the Premier League title in 2016 in what amounted to a sporting fairy tale.

Two members of Vichai's staff, Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, also died along with pilot Eric Swaffer and co-pilot Izabela Roza Lechowicz.

"He's an owner who actually cared about a club", 19-year-old fan Rikesh Vaja said. "We are aware of petitions seeking this type of change as well as for a statue at the club and will discuss all these wishes with the Srivaddhanaprabha family and the football club".

But one saleswoman, who declined to be named, said she cried as the news of Vichai's death broke early Monday.

Chris Kamara pays tribute to the victims in the Leicester helicopter crash.

There were allegations of corruption against King Power in 2017 when it paid the Thai Government only 3 percent of the duty-free income as against the 15 percent mentioned in the contract.

In Thailand there was disbelief at news of the crash, while in Leicester fans brought flowers and blue and white scarves bearing the club's emblem of a fox to lay at the stadium some 9,700 km from Vichai's homeland.

Several hours after the horrific incident, Leicester confirmed people's worst fears - that Vichai and the four other people on board had indeed lost their lives.

Vichai, 60, was among five people who died when the helicopter crashed in the stadium vehicle park moments after taking off from the pitch following Saturday's match.

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Leicester's Carabao Cup match with Southampton has been postponed and Saturday's away match with Cardiff City remains in doubt.

Leicestershire Police said on Twitter that their drone was not in flight when the helicopter left the stadium.

Witnesses said the helicopter seemed to spiral out of control moments after it set off from the pitch.

DMU's rowing club highlighted the inspiration that Mr Vichai had given them and thanked the emergency services for their response to the crash.

Mr Vichai became well-known for his generosity, often gifting fans doughnuts and beer on his birthday and buying players on the title-winning squad a £100,000 BMW each.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch says inspectors "will start working on the recorder, which was subject to intense heat as a result of the post-accident fire".

After pumping millions of pounds into the club, he helped steer them back into the top flight in 2014 before they stunned the sport by beating the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea to become champions of England.

Aiyawatt was later joined by the team, including striker Jamie Vardy, center-back Harry Maguire and keeper Kasper Schmeichel, with the group pausing in reflection in front of the flowers.

Freelance photographer Ryan Brown was covering the game and saw the helicopter clear the stadium before it crashed, the BBC reported.

For all those long journeys the Spireites faithful have made over the past few years to see completely unacceptable performances, there has been little done by the club to show their appreciation for such ongoing loyalty.

The wedding of Vichai's daughter Voramas Srivaddhanaprabha in 2017 was attended by current King Maha Vajiralongkorn's daughter as well as generals of the junta that seized power in 2014.

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