It’s been one of the most traumatic weeks in Leicester City’s 134-year history.
The club’s fans, staff and the wider football community have been in mourning following the tragic helicopter crash which claimed the life of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four other people.
Thousands of football fans have left shirts, scarves, flags and flowers outside the King Power Stadium over recent days after it was confirmed that all five people onboard the helicopter had passed away.
“This has been without doubt one of the hardest weeks in the history of this football club,” Leicester boss Claude Puel told reporters, per the Guardian, on Thursday. “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.
“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.
“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.”
Leicester players were all quick to pay tribute to Srivaddhanaprabha, who they affectionately referred to as ‘The Boss’, on social media.
One of the most touching tributes came from goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who reportedly rushed to the scene of the incident after hearing sirens and emergency vehicles around the stadium on that ill-fated evening last Saturday.
Now further details about Schmeichel’s actions have emerged – per Sky Sports reporter Rob Dorsett – and the 31-year-old’s bravery deserves immense respect.
“Extraordinary confirmation from Claude Puel,” Dorsett tweeted. “I’d been told that @kschmeichel1 had to be stopped by police on Sat night, as he ran towards the burning helicopter to try to help.
“Puel confirmed as much and said ‘Kasper lived and saw some terrible things.’”
So, Schmeichel tried to run towards the burning helicopter to help those onboard but was prevented from doing so by police for his own safety.
Respect, Kasper. Not many people would have been prepared to risk their own safety in that situation, but the Denmark international was.
Schmeichel and his teammates will be in action for the first time since the tragedy on Saturday afternoon, when they take on Cardiff City. ( Rob Swan)