Leicester City helicopter crash: Wreckage removed

Leicester City helicopter crash: Wreckage removed

BBC Sport Editor Dan Roan taken off air after comments about Leicester City owner

Leicester City has been left "numb and in shock" by the helicopter crash which killed the club's owner and four other people, manager Claude Puel has said.

Players and staff have been offered grief counselling in the wake of the disaster outside the stadium shortly after Leicester's match against West Ham on Saturday night.

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Owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was among those who died. The 61-year-old oversaw Leicester's improbable Premier League title victory during the 2015-16 season.

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Members of staff Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz also died in the crash.

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"This has been without doubt one of the hardest weeks in the history of this football club," Puel said at a press conference on Thursday.

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"The tragic loss of five lives has left us numb and in shock and our prayers and love remain with Vichai's family and with the all of the families who have lost a loved one.

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"Vichai made Leicester City into what it is. He made it a family and made a dream. He invested in the club, the city and he invested in the people.

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"He truly was loved by everyone inside and outside the club. Personally it was a privilege to work for him. It was a privilege for the faith he showed in me and the moments we shared. To see all of the messages and the flowers and shirts outside the stadium this week show how many lives he touched."

Flowers and tributes have been left outside the stadium since the crash, and a book of condolence was also opened in Mr Srivaddhanaprabha's memory.

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Former Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri paid his respects to the owner on Thursday, visiting the ever-growing shrine at the King Power Stadium.

The 67-year-old Italian was in charge between 2015 and 2017, including leading the club to the Premier League title. He was accompanied by Srivaddhanaprabha's son Aiyawatt as he laid a wreath for the Thai billionaire.

He added: "I have never been prouder to be manager of this club. In such difficult circumstances – from staff, players and fans, they have shown what a special club this is.

"Playing football has not been on our minds this last week but for this weekend and all matches after we will play to honour and remember a man who did so much for our club."

Leicester are due to return to action on Saturday, but their match against Cardiff could clash with Mr Srivaddhanaprabha's funeral, which begins on Saturday and could last for up to a week.

Puel said: "I want to give players the opportunity to go if they want to but I don't know about the logistics. But the players want to go and support Vichai's family."

LEICESTER will travel by coach rather then plane for Saturday’s Premier League clash against Cardiff.

The Foxes have opted to travel by road after making the decision that flying would be insensitive given the circumstances of chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s tragic death.

Srivaddhanaprabha died on Saturday, along with four others, when his helicopter crashed after taking off from the King Power Stadium.

Last night, Leicester announced the Cardiff game will go ahead, having postponed their Carabao Cup game with Southampton.

The club had discussed whether to play the Premier League fixture in Wales but it will go ahead after backing from the players and staff and there will be a minute’s silence prior to kick off, while the players will wear black armbands.

Accompanied with a picture of him kissing his father, Aiyawatt, known as ‘Top’, wrote: ‘I would like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for this overwhelming support.

‘What happened made me realise how important my dad was to many people all over the world and I am touched by how many people kept him close to their hearts.

‘I am extremely proud to have such an extraordinary father. From him I have received a very big mission and legacy to pass on and I intend to do just that.’

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