THE Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, called on Sunday for churches in the city to observe a time of silent prayer to remember the victims of a helicopter crash on Saturday evening that killed five.
The owner of Leicester City FC, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was among five people who were killed when his helicopter crashed outside the King Power Stadium, shortly after the club had drawn to West Ham United. All five who were on board died instantly.
The four others were named by Leicestershire police as the pilot, Eric Swaffer; Nursara Suknamai; Kaveporn Punpare; and Izabela Roza Lechowicz.
Bishop Snow said in a statement on Sunday: “In the light of the tragic events at Leicester City Football Club, I know that the prayers of the whole diocese of Leicester will be with those awaiting news of loved ones, and with the emergency services, and all those involved at the football club.
“I am asking that all our churches pause during their services today and observe a time of silent prayer. We don’t yet know all the details of yesterday’s helicopter crash, but we share the sense of shock and grief of the whole city and county. We stand with the football club and want to assure them of our support and care at this time.”
A statement issued on Sunday by Leicester City said: “It is with the deepest regret and a collective broken heart that we confirm our chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was among those to have tragically lost their lives on Saturday evening when a helicopter carrying him and four other people crashed outside King Power Stadium. None of the five people on board survived.
“The primary thoughts of everyone at the club are with the Srivaddhanaprabha family and the families of all those on board at this time of unspeakable loss. 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.”
Under the ownership of Mr Srivaddhanaprabha, Leicester City won the Premier League in 2016, overcoming improbable odds to do so (News, 6 May 2016).
Hundreds gathered outside the ground on Sunday to leave flowers and pay their respects. A book of condolence will be opened at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday.
The Dean of Leicester, the Very Revd David Monteith, visited the ground on Sunday. He said: “The flowers, shirts, and scarves laid out at King Power Stadium following the helicopter crash speak of many important things. Standing in the crowd to lay flowers, we were struck how carefully and considerately each item has been placed — each giving space to others. There is beauty as well as pain in this kaleidoscope of grief.”