A helicopter crashed near the King Power Club on Saturday, which is the official stadium of English Premier League’s Leicester City Football Club, killing all five on-board including the club’s owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
The helicopter carrying the chairman of Leicester City and four other passengers near a car park by the south-east corner of the stadium moments after taking off. It was around 8:20 pm (CT).
The accident took place after the club’s draw to West Ham United, played in their home stadium, the King Power Club.
The police have identified the four passengers that were on-board along with the billionaire businessman. Among with were pilot Eric Swaffer, Nursara Suknamai, and Kaveporn Punpare, who were the members of Vichai’s staff, and Izabela Roza Lechowicz.
Srivaddhanaprabha would always travel by his helicopter during the home matches and it was something always on sight at the King Power Stadium.
According to the witnesses, the helicopter had barely cleared the stadium walls before making a very loud noise, crashing to the ground and igniting in a large fireball.
There are investigations going on about what caused the crash.
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the 60-year-old self-made billionaire was a beloved member of the EPL who bought Leicester back in 2010 for £39 million. He was previously the shirt sponsor of the club.
After purchasing the club he wasn’t just the owner but also became the chairman with his son, known as Top, as the vice chairman.
During his ownership, Leicester City rose up from the second-tier Championship to the Premier League, winning the 2016 Championship for the first time in its 132-year history.
The Thai billionaire and businessman was the owner of the King Power chain of duty-free shops. He started it in 1989 in downtown Bangkok, which today has grown to be Thailand’s largest.
He also founded the Thailand Pop Association and was the owner of the VR Polo Club in Bangkok.
Apart from Leicester, Srivaddhanaprabha also owned a Belgian football club OH Leuven.
Vichai, who was born Vichai Raksriaksorn was given the name Srivasshanaprabha, which means “the light of auspicious prosperity,” that was bestowed upon him by the then-King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand in 2013 for his goodwill and services.
With a net worth of $4.9 billion, Vichai Srivasshanaprabha was listed No. 388 on the Forbes’ billionaires list.
After the tragic incident, the football club came out with a statement announcing a book of condolence for supporters wishing to pay their respects at the King Power Stadium on 30 October.