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Funeral of Leicester City owner gets under way in Bangkok

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was one of five people killed when the aircraft crashed leaving the ground after the club’s 1-1 draw with West Ham last Saturday.

The 60-year-old died when the helicopter he was in came down in a car park seconds after taking off from the pitch, along with two of his staff members, Nusara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare and pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz.

Mr Srivaddhanaprabha’s funeral is taking place at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok, with members of Thailand’s elite expected to pay tribute to the well-connected billionaire.

His body was flown to Thailand on Friday and taken to Wat Debsirindrawas ahead of the official ceremony which lasts until 9 November.

Sky’s southeast Asia correspondent Siobhan Robbins in Bangkok said: “Guests have been going through (the main part of the temple), or entering through different gates.

“Behind that they cross through a private area, over some water and into a very private ceremony and that’s where, being held, is a huge eight-sided golden casket which has been given to this funeral by the royal family.

“What is meant to have started at half past five (local time), which we are not allowed to see because it is private, is the traditional bathing ceremony.

“The king has given some sacred water which traditionally is poured on to the hand of the deceased by either a royal representative or a high up member and then other members of the family can follow in that practice, and once that’s over people will be allowed to come and pay their respects. That will happen every single night.”

Leicester City footballers will play their first game since the tragedy later, when they travel to Cardiff for an away fixture.

Before heading to Cardiff the players spent time outside the King Power Stadium looking at the thousands of tributes left to Mr Srivaddhanaprabha.

Many of the players were close to the club owner and thought of him as a father figure.

Some of the players will fly out to Thailand after the match to take part.

England and Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy told Sky Sports: “We all spoke about … wanting to play, it’s what Vichai would’ve wanted and that’s what we are going to do.”

Mr Srivaddhanaprabha rose from having a single store in Bangkok to owning the duty-free King Power empire, whose shops are widespread at Thailand’s airports.

His funeral ceremony will feature court musicians playing drums and flutes and Buddhist monks reciting prayers.

The body will be kept for a further 100 days and his cremation will take place at a date in the future.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has begun examining wreckage recovered from the crash site and the in-flight recorder.

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