Leicester City FC owner was amongst five other people who died when his helicopter crashed in flames near the club’s ground.

Club owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was killed, along with two members of his staff, another passenger, and the pilot on Saturday 27 October.

The helicopter took off from the King Power Stadium at about 20:30 BST on Saturday, as it often does after Leicester City games.

The helicopter was seen spiralling out of control, then crashing in flames in a car park.

Freelance photographer Ryan Brown had been at the match covering the game.

“I heard the helicopter take off,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live. “I turned around and it made a whirring noise and grinding noise and then went silent, it was spinning out of control.

“The blades had stopped spinning and then there was a big bang and a big fireball. Lots of people started running towards the scene; as I came around the corner there was a huge fireball.

“It crashed right near the stadium. It just cleared the stadium roof and landed in an industrial park next to it.”

It is not yet known what caused the helicopter to crash.

Leicestershire Police said two members of his staff, Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, died in the crash, as well as pilot Eric Swaffer and passenger Izabela Roza Lechowicz.

No-one on the ground was injured.

An investigation into the crash is being led by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), which investigates civil aircraft accidents across the UK.

Tributes have been pouring in and the Duke of Cambridge led the tributes to Mr Vichai, saying he was lucky to have known him for several years.

“He was a businessman of strong values who was dedicated to his family and who supported a number of important charitable causes,” Prince William, who is president of the FA, said.

“He made such a big contribution to football, not least through Leicester City’s magical 2016 season that captured the imagination of the world.”

Former Leicester City and England striker Gary Lineker tweeted to say he was “deeply saddened” to hear of Mr Vichai’s death. He signed off the Match of the Day programme on Saturday by saying it had been a “dreadful day”.

Mr Swaffer’s friend Lucie Morris-Marr said the pilot was a “veteran in the field” and would have done all he could to prevent lives being lost in the crash.

She described him as a “funny and vivacious” man who was in an “aviation love story” with Ms Lechowicz.

The couple were professional pilots who lived together in Camberley, Surrey. Ms Lechowicz moved to the UK from Poland in 1997.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “The outpouring of grief is a testament to how many people’s lives were touched by those on board.”

In a statement, Leicester City said the club’s thoughts were with “the Srivaddhanaprabha family and the families of all those on-board at this time of unspeakable loss”.


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