• January 23

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Leicester City’s Tragedy

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This past Saturday, Leicester City had to play without their biggest supporter, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. The owner of the club had died in a tragic helicopter accident which killed four other people just over a week ago. The helicopter had crashed on the 27th of October just after Leicester City had played West Ham United in a 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium, Leicester City’s home ground. Leicestershire Police said they believed the other people killed in the crash to be two members of Mr Vichai’s staff – Nusara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare – pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz. The sad truth is that none of the passengers were able to make it out of the wreckage before it was too late. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash having taken the wreckage to a facility in Farnborough, Hampshire. The AAIB has confirmed contents of the digital flight recorder, that survived the post-crash fire. This device can tell crash investigators things like how fast the helicopter was going, wind speed, and other critical information for figuring out what the cause of this tragic event was.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, 60, was a billionaire and founder of duty-free consortium King Power International. He bought Leicester City F.C. in 2010 for £39m. He cleared their debts and saw the club win promotion to the top flight four years later. He then took the club all the way to the top of English soccer and won The Premier League in the  2015-16 season, even after the 5,000-1 odds being made clear that they would not win. However, this hasn’t stopped them from continuing their success, not only in England, but on the European stage too. The next year they made it all the way to The Champions League Quarter Final (not very many soccer clubs can claim that). After the remarkable Premier League title victory, he donated £2m to Leicester Hospitals Charity to help develop a new children’s hospital at Leicester Royal Infirmary. He was not only known as a genuinely good man; he was known for his strong family values and frequently donated to a number of medical foundations and charitable causes. BBC South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head said Mr Vichai “never gave interviews”, so “although much-loved in Leicester, he remained something of an enigma”.

Fans began to lay flowers and football shirts outside the ground the next morning. Shirts and scarves were also seen from other teams including West Ham United, Leicester City’s opponent in the match prior to the crash. Everyone knew that Leicester City has lost an amazing man that will be missed.  

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Leicester City’s Tragedy