Leicester crash witnesses: Pilot prevented larger tragedy by avoiding buildings

Leicester crash witnesses: Pilot prevented larger tragedy by avoiding buildings

Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha died along with four others when the helicopter crashed in a parking lot outside the club's stadium just after 8.30 pm on Saturday, the soccer club said in a statement.

"I was lucky to have known Vichai for several years", said Prince William, the second-in-line to the British throne.

In a Twitter post attributed to Infantino, FIFA says it "extends its deepest sympathies to their families & friends & to the many football fans for whom Vichai was an integral member of The Foxes family".

That changed with Leicester City's odds-defying English Premier League title in 2016, the unlikeliest of victories in the world's most watched football league that has gone down in footballing lore.

Leicestershire Police named the other people who died in the crash as Nursara Suknamai, Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz.

A book of condolence will be opened at the stadium from Tuesday and the team postponed its fixture against Southampton.

Shilton, who was born in Leicester and made over 300 appearances for the Foxes between 1966 and 1974, said the city "will be in mourning for a long time".

His blue helicopter took off from the pitch after the stadium emptied following Saturday's 1-1 draw with West Ham, but crashed moments later in the vehicle park.

Vichai bought Leicester City in 2010 and moved to chairman the following February, pouring millions into the team and becoming a beloved figure in the club and the city - a feat rarely achieved by the Premier League's foreign owners.

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In Thailand, officials at King Power said they could not yet comment on the crash or say whether Mr Vichai had been aboard when it spiralled out of control and crashed around an hour after the game.

A team investigating Saturday's crash, which happened at about 20:30 BST, have recovered the aircraft's digital flight data recorder.

Leicester City's first-team squad had a short training session on Monday morning. "I was really upset, I can't get to sleep over it", Mr Kanti Patel, a Leicester City fan, told AFP as emergency workers pored over the crash site."It means a lot to me, he did a lot for the club".

Leicester players Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire both tweeted praying hands emojis.

Season-ticket prices have been frozen for the past four seasons, while Vichai also donated £2 million ($2.5 million) to help build a local children's hospital in the aftermath of the club's title triumph.

"We now have a responsibility as a club, as players and fans to honour you". Will forever be grateful for his support for my family.

Leicester were in the Championship when Srivaddhanaprabha acquired the club and, having been promoted as champions in 2014, they won the Premier League title in 2016.

"The AAIB is now leading an investigation to establish the exact circumstances surrounding the crash and investigators will remain at the scene to complete their initial enquiries".

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