Portsmouth give condolences to Leicester City as footballing world mourns helicopter crash 

Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was one of five people to die when a helicopter crashed near the King Power Stadium, the club have confirmed in a statement. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire
Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was one of five people to die when a helicopter crashed near the King Power Stadium, the club have confirmed in a statement. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire
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Pompey have offered their condolences to Leicester City after their owner and four other people were killed in a helicopter crash. 

The tragedy happened near King Power stadium just an hour after the Foxes had played West Ham on Saturday (October 27) evening. 

Police confirmed that the club’s owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, two of his staff and two pilots were killed. 

The Thai billionaire employees Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and passenger Izabela Roza Lechowicz all died when the aircraft crashed near the south-east end of the King Power Stadium.

Last night Portsmouth joined the football world in sharing their condolences with Leicester City. 

The club’s official account tweeted: ‘Our deepest condolences to everyone at Leicester City FC, as well as the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives.’ 

Mr Srivaddhanaprabha was known for arriving and leaving the stadium in his helicopter at home games.

Self-made billionaire Mr Srivaddhanaprabha was highly thought of in the city after he bought the Foxes for £39 million in 2010, and became chairman the following February.

Under his ownership the club rose out of the Championship and eventually won the Premier League for the first time in its history in 2015-16, defying odds of 5,000-1.

The 60-year-old was also praised for his charity work, donating £2 million towards a new children's hospital.

He was married to Aimon and the couple have four children - Voramas, Apichet, Arunroong and Aiyawatt.

The new family surname of Srivaddhanaprabha was bestowed by King Bhumibol, former monarch of Thailand, in 2013. It means "light of progressive glory" in Thai, as recognition of the business's corporate and social responsibility programmes, including education and children's health.

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

Football world in mourning

The club described their chairman as ‘a man of kindness, of generosity’ and said ‘Leicester City was a family under his leadership’.

Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who was reported to have witnessed the aftermath of the tragedy, shared a heartfelt Instagram post in which he told of his devastation at Mr Srivaddhanaprabha's death.

‘It is difficult to put into words how much you meant to this football club and to the city of Leicester,’ he said.

‘Never have I ever come across a man like you. So hard working, so passionate, so kind and so generous in the extreme.

‘You changed football. Forever! You gave hope to everyone that the impossible was possible. You literally made my dreams come true.’

Teammate Jamie Vardy called Mr Srivaddhanaprabha a ‘legend’.

He said on Instagram: ‘Struggling to find the right words, but to me you are a legend, an incredible man who had the biggest heart, the soul of Leicester City Football Club.’

Football clubs around the world shared messages of support on social media, hailing the Leicester owner for his legacy.

Mexican club Tigres UANL said Mr Srivaddhanaprabha had ‘showed the world in 2016 that it is possible to believe in miracles’.

French club Paris Saint-Germain said it was ‘shocked and saddened by the tragic events’, while Barcelona tweeted: ‘Our thoughts are with the whole @lcfc family.’

Pundits also paid tribute, with Gabby Logan saying in reference to Schmeichel: ‘There are not many players and certainly fewer clubs who could boast players who can write this about their relationship with the owner.’