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Leicester City owner among five dead in helicopter crash

The owner of Leicester City FC died when his helicopter crashed outside the stadium, the club has confirmed.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, two members of his staff, the pilot and a passenger were killed when the aircraft crashed at about 20:30 BST on Saturday.

Witnesses said the helicopter just cleared the King Power Stadium before it spiralled out of control and crashed in a fireball.

Thousands of bouquets and scarves have already been left outside the ground.

Leicestershire Police said it believed the dead to be:

  • Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha
  • Two members of his staff, Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare
  • Pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz
  • Mr Swaffer had over 20 years’ flying experience as a private jet and helicopter pilot.His career included flying helicopters for live media broadcasting including Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast and the Virgin Radio traffic helicopter.

    Mr Swaffer’s friend Lucie Morris-Marr said he was a “veteran in the field” and would have done all he could to prevent lives being lost in the crash.

    She added that he was a “funny and vivacious” man who was in an “aviation love story” with Ms Lechowicz.

    “Not many people get to work and travel with their soulmate, travelling the world going to glamorous places,” she said.

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

    In a statement, the Polish embassy said: “With great sadness, we received the news about the death of Izabela Lechowicz in the Leicester catastrophe.

    “She was a great pilot, winner of the #Polka100 contest. It contributed to the creation of a positive image of Poland in the UK.”

  • bbc
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