Leeds United and other Yorkshire clubs pay tribute to Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha after tragic helicopter crash

Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. PIC: PA
Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. PIC: PA
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Leeds United have paid tribute to the billionaire Thai owner of Leicester City Football Club who died alongside four other people when his helicopter crashed just metres from the club's stadium on Saturday.

Leeds United, both Sheffield clubs, Hull and Rotherham United were among the football fraterntiy to send their best wishes and thoughts to all those effected by the tragic events.

Police confirmed Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was killed along with two staff members, the pilot and a passenger when the aircraft fell from the sky and burst into flames outside the King Power Stadium at about 8.30pm.

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The four others are believed to be Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and passenger Izabela Roza Lechowicz.

The air accident watchdog is carrying out an investigation into what caused the aircraft to crash in a car park near the stadium a few hours after the Foxes drew 1-1 with West Ham.

Tributes at Leicester City Foootbal Club following a helicopter used by club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, crashing into flames in a car park near the stadium shortly after 8.30pm on Saturday evening. Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Tributes at Leicester City Foootbal Club following a helicopter used by club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, crashing into flames in a car park near the stadium shortly after 8.30pm on Saturday evening. Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Hundreds of tributes were left outside the ground on Sunday by mourners, with more messages flooding in through social media.

Leicester City issued a statement late on Sunday describing the 60-year-old, who bought the club for £39 million in 2010 and led it to a first Premier League title, as a "great man".

The club said: "In Khun Vichai, 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.

"Leicester City was a family under his leadership. It is as a family that we will grieve his passing and maintain the pursuit of a vision for the Club that is now his legacy."

Supporters pay tribute at Leicester City Footbal Club following a helicopter used by club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, crashing into flames in a car park near the stadium shortly after 8.30pm on Saturday evening. Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Supporters pay tribute at Leicester City Footbal Club following a helicopter used by club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, crashing into flames in a car park near the stadium shortly after 8.30pm on Saturday evening. Aaron Chown/PA Wire

The club will set up a book of condolence at the stadium from Tuesday morning for supporters to pay their respects, with an online version on its website for those unable to visit in person.

Leicester's EFL Cup tie against Southampton and the development squad's match against Feyenoord in the Premier League International Cup on Tuesday have both been postponed.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) is leading the investigation into how the Agusta Westland AW169 helicopter crashed in what is believed to be the first accident involving an AW169 aircraft.

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A spokesman added: "A team from the AAIB has been deployed to the site and is investigating. Anyone with information that might be helpful to the investigation is asked to contact the police."

Witnesses said the helicopter seemed to spiral out of control moments after it set off from the pitch.

But pilot Mr Swaffer has been hailed as a hero for steering the spinning aircraft away from crowds of people on the ground.

The tragedy is being described as the "darkest day" in Leicester City's history, and mourners began laying wreaths near the stadium on Sunday morning.

Bouquets, flags and football shirts were left outside the ground by members of the public, alongside a large image of the Hindu god Ganesh which was propped up amidst the flowers.

Messages from Leicester fans on the flowers included "In our thoughts!!" and "Thank you xx", and one fan left a card of a fox with their flowers, which read: "Thinking of you all."

Superintendent Steve Potter said it was likely to take several days to complete the investigation around the crash site.

He added: "This is an incredibly tragic incident in which five people are understood have lost their lives.

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"Emergency services were immediately on scene when the crash happened, working to put out the fire and gain access to the helicopter in attempts to reach those inside. Despite those efforts, there were no survivors.

"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.

"Our thoughts today are with the families of those who have sadly died, with Leicester City Football Club, and with both football supporters and the wider local community who have all been impacted by the events and the news that those on board the aircraft have not survived."