Sheffield stars lead tributes following fatal Leicester City helicopter crash

Glen Norman
October 29, 2018

Kawin Thamsatchanan, goalkeeper for the Thai national team who plays for Oud-Heverlee Leuven- the Belgium football club also owned by Vichai- paid a lengthy and personal tribute to the King Power magnate, speaking of the impact he had on his life and thanking him for the opportunity to live out his dream and play football in Europe.

One of the people who tragically died in the Leicester City helicopter crash was a former Miss Universe Thailand runner-up.

All five victims of the crash have been named including billionaire and Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

UEFA and European football have offered their deepest sympathies to Leicester City following the tragic death of club chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in a helicopter accident outside the Premier League club's stadium on Saturday.

The crash sparked emotional scenes in Leicester, the East Midlands city whose devoted soccer fans will forever be grateful to Vichai for bankrolling not only the club's first title in the world's foremost soccer league, but one of the most incredible stories in world sports history.

"You can see that outpouring of grief at the moment, it's as genuine as they come, and I think that speaks volumes for the man that we're talking about".

A book of condolence will be opened at the stadium from Tuesday and the team has postponed its upcoming League Cup fixture against Southampton.

Supporters were laying tributes to the Thai businessman on Sunday morning in a solemn atmosphere outside the King Power Stadium as they awaited further information on exactly what happened.

"He went into the community, he made donations to the universities, donations to the hospitals, and the Leicester people took to him", O'Neill told BBC Radio Ulster.

As expressions of concern poured in from around the football world, England legend Gary Lineker, a former Leicester player and host of the BBC's Match of the Day, tweeted: "That was the most hard @BBCMOTD I've ever hosted... A awful tragedy. Heartbreaking".

After Saturday's game against West Ham, the helicopter took off from the center circle on the field and cleared the stadium roof before plummeting to the ground in an adjacent carpark in a ball of flames.

"Thoughts and prayers with all - particularly owners who've done so much for Club and our City", Leicester's mayor Peter Soulsby tweeted.

Claudio Ranieri's side lost just three league games in what was described as a "fairytale" and the "most unlikely triumph in the history of team sport".

Mr Srivaddhanaprabha's helicopter was flown by Eric Swaffer, 53 (pictured left with the Dalai Lama) who has posted pictures of the craft on social media.

Air crash investigators were also examining the scene.

The prince, who is the president of the English Football Association, says he had known the 60-year-old retail entrepreneur for several years.

They initially seemed outclassed by richer and more established clubs from London, Liverpool and Manchester, languishing at the very bottom the table for most of the 2014-15 season.

FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura wrote on Twitter that "Vichai's kindness, passion for football, Leicester & its people touched hearts of many".

But not even their most devout fans could have imagined what happened next.

Tributes also poured in from around the world of football.

Leicester were promoted to the top flight by winning the Championship in the 2013/14 season and just two years later shocked the world by winning the Premier League.

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