Leicester City owner Srivaddhanaprabha dies in helicopter crash

Leicester-City

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha applauds beside the trophy as Leicester City celebrate becoming the English Premier League champions in 2016. (Matt Dunham/AP)

English soccer club Leicester City says Thai owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was among five people who died when a helicopter crashed next to the stadium.

The 60-year-old retail entrepreneur’s helicopter burst into flames shortly after taking off from the soccer field Saturday at the team’s King Power stadium which is named after his duty-free chain.
Local police have released the names of the other four people who they believe died in the helicopter crash that killed Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Leicestershire Police say two were members of Vichai’s staff: Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare. Also killed were pilot Eric Swaffer and passenger Izabela Roza Lechowicz.

The police force says formal identification has not yet taken place, and that no one else was believed to have been injured.

Vichai bought Leicester for 39 million pounds ($50 million) in 2010 when it was in the second-tier Championship and bankrolled the revival that peaked with the 5,000-1 outsiders improbably wining the English Premier League in 2016.

Having accomplished one of the greatest underdog stories in the history of sports, the central England team is now valued by Forbes at 371 million pounds ($476 million).

In a statement, Leicester says "the world has lost a great man. A man of kindness, of generosity and a man whose life was defined by the love he devoted to his family and those he so successfully led."

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