Kasper Schmeichel ‘scared’ of flying years after Leicester owner’s fatal crash

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    The sudden, tragic death of Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha affected everyone at the club – but the incident is a particularly sensitive matter for Kasper Schmeichel.

    The Denmark goalkeeper and son of Manchester United legend Peter had already been at the King Power Stadium for seven years when Srivaddhanaprabha died unexpectedly on October 27, 2018. The club stalwart grew close with Thai businessman Srivaddhanaprabha in that time and watched alongside family as his helicopter took off from the club's ground that night, following a 1-1 draw with West Ham.

    It would be the final time the post-match tradition took place, however, as the aircraft began to spin near the stadium. The pilot, Eric Swaffer, and three other passengers died at the scene, and Schmeichel has admitted he still has difficulty flying to this day.

    READ NEXT: Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha profiled after tragic helicopter crash

    "It's impossible for it not to impact every aspect of your life," he said during a recent appearance on Monday Night Football. "It still does to this day. To get in any kind of aircraft is difficult.

    "In a way, it makes you a lot more grateful for what you have and what you're doing every single day. It also makes you scared, because you know it can be taken away from you instantly. And if it can happen to a man as good as Vichai, it can happen to anyone."

    It was under Srivaddhanaprabha's ownership that Leicester bounded back into England's elite. The late King Power CEO purchased the club from Milan Mandaric in 2010 while they were still in the Championship, gaining promotion to the top flight four years later and winning their first Premier League title in 2016.

    Schmeichel – who ended his 11-year stay at the club to join Nice on a free transfer in 2022 – played a pivotal role in that run to the title. Srivaddhanaprabha's death wasn't the only time wasn't the only time he had a brush with mortality in a football setting, however, having also been playing alongside Denmark team-mate Christian Eriksen in a Euro 2020 clash against Finland.

    "These things, they hit you quite hard," Schmeichel continued. "And unfortunately I've experienced a few of these moments, with Christian as well. Luckily a very different outcome, but it scares you in a way. It does change your perspective on life completely.

    "Like I say, I'm a lot more wary of things. Probably a lot more scared of things in many ways, but also a lot more thankful for the days and the things that I do have."

    Speaking about Srivaddhanaprabha in October 2019, one year after witnessing the crash, the stopper said it was "safe [to say] without him none of us would be here." The tragedy at the King Power has had a lasting negative impact on some of those who saw the incident unfold, though Schmeichel is also determined to use it as a force for good.


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