Who were the victims of the Leicester helicopter crash?

Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, two of his staff and two pilots were killed when the Thai billionaire’s helicopter crashed in flames near the team’s ground.

Police confirmed the businessman, employees Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and passenger Izabela Roza Lechowicz died when the aircraft crashed near the south-east end of the King Power Stadium.

Mr Srivaddhanaprabha was known for arriving and leaving the stadium in his helicopter at home games.

Self-made billionaire Mr Srivaddhanaprabha was highly thought of in the city after he bought the Foxes for £39 million in 2010, and became chairman the following February.

Under his ownership the club rose out of the Championship and eventually won the Premier League for the first time in its history in 2015-16, defying odds of 5,000-1.

Leicester City celebrate winning the Barclays Premier League
Leicester City celebrate winning the Barclays Premier League (Nick Potts/PA)

The 60-year-old was also praised for his charity work, donating £2 million towards a new children’s hospital.

He was married to Aimon and the couple have four children – Voramas, Apichet, Arunroong and Aiyawatt.

The new family surname of Srivaddhanaprabha was bestowed by King Bhumibol, former monarch of Thailand, in 2013. It means “light of progressive glory” in Thai, as recognition of the business’s corporate and social responsibility programmes, including education and children’s health.

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

Police said Mr Swaffer was at the controls when the aircraft crashed, with witnesses hailing him as a hero for guiding the spinning helicopter away from crowds on the ground.

His LinkedIn page sets out a wealth of flying experience going back to 1989, with a six-year period at easyJet before he became a contract pilot.

Ms Lechowicz was selected by her country’s London embassy as one of 18 exceptional Polish women who inspired the community in the UK for being a pilot.

It is with great sadness that we received news of the death of Izabela Lechowicz in the Leicester helicopter crash. She…

Posted by Polish Embassy UK on Sunday, October 28, 2018

Writing earlier this year about becoming a pilot as part of the project to celebrate women getting the vote in Poland in 1918, she said she was inspired by her partner.

She added: “Shortly after (coming to the UK) I also met my partner, who back then worked as an airline and helicopter pilot.

“He took me out for a few flights, and that is how it all started. I knew this is something I want to do from the moment I touched the controls for the first time.”

She began training in 2003 and was working as a freelance pilot.