R.I.P. VICHAI SRIVADDNAPRABHA
R.I.P. Vichai Srivaddhnaprabha a true Football Hero.
By Gloria Jones
Last month the football world was left reeling from a disaster that brought a tragic end to what had been a near fairy story tale. Vichai Srivaddhnaprabha known to millions as the man responsible for accomplishing one of the greatest underdog stories in the history of sports was among five people on board his helicopter which crashed outside the King Power Stadium after the team’s match drawing 1-1 against West Ham
Vichai Srivaddhnaprabha, No. 388 on the Forbes' billionaires list, with a net worth of $4.9 billion, made his fortune through the creation of the King Power chain of duty-free stores.. He bought Leicester City football club for 39 million pounds in 2010 when it was in the second-tier Championship and bankrolled the revival that peaked with the 5,000-1 outsiders improbably winning the English Premier League in 2016.
At first it was believed that his daughter was also on board but it was later confirmed that was not the case and that the other four people killed in the crash were the pilot, Eric Swaffer, his co pilot Izabela Roza Lechowicz and two members of Vichai’s staff, Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare.
The helicopter spiralled and crashed to the ground before bursting into flames eyewitness Dan Cox, a Sky Sports News cameraman reported: I heard it coming out of the stadium. The next thing I just looked up and it was spinning out of control. I don’t know how the pilot did it but he seemed to manage to slow down the rotation and it drifted off into the corner part of the car park. He managed to crash that helicopter in a part of the ground where there wasn’t anybody there. The pilot was heroic and the two police officers in front of me, who also tried to help are heroes too.”
Leicestershire Police have confirmed they will be supporting the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), in their investigation into the accident, and that enquiries are continuing.
A book of condolence, to be shared with the Srivaddhanaprabha family has been opened at King Power Stadium for supporters wishing to pay their respects. The club’s statement read: “It is with the deepest regret and a collective broken heart that we confirm our chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was among those to have tragically lost their lives on Saturday evening when a helicopter carrying him and four other people crashed outside King Power Stadium. None of the five people on-board survived.The primary thoughts of everyone at the club are with the Srivaddhanaprabha family and the families of all those on-board at this time of unspeakable loss.
A member of Leicester City’s staff further summed it up by saying:”The staff are just devastated, the fans are just devastated. Two years ago when Leicester won the league, he paid for coaches, food vouchers, drink vouchers for all the staff to go to the last game of the season (at Chelsea), which was just fabulous. This guy is not just a chairman, he’s a massive friend of the staff. They are like family. It’s devastating, the staff are just absolutely devastated."