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Leicester City players fly to owner’s funeral in Thailand

Relatives attend a procession with royal soldiers for the funeral of Vichai SrivaddhanaprabhaImage copyrightReuters
Image caption Relatives took part in a procession with royal soldiers ahead of the funeral

The funeral of Leicester City’s owner who died in a helicopter crash outside the club’s stadium is under way.

Royal soldiers, monks and Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s relatives took part in a procession ahead of the ceremony at a temple in Bangkok, Thailand.

The funeral began with Buddhist bathing rituals and will be followed by recitation ceremonies over seven days.

The Leicester City players are due to fly out to Thailand for the funeral after their game against Cardiff later.

Thai billionaire Mr Vichai died along with two members of his staff, the pilot and a passenger when the helicopter came down in a car park moments after taking off from the King Power Stadium on 27 October.

Image copyrightReuters
Image caption Royal soldiers in Mr Vichai’s funeral procession

Image copyrightReuters
Image caption Monks were also involved in the procession in Bangkok

A bathing rite ceremony has started which will be followed by the beginning of the recitation ceremonies.

Jonathan Head, the BBC’s South East Asia correspondent, is at the temple and said the ceremony was being held behind closed doors.

There was no definitive start to the ceremony, he said, but close friends and relatives would arrive over the next few hours.

Image copyrightReuters
Image caption Mourners could be seen through a glass door at Mr Vichai’s funeral

Image copyrightReuters
Image caption A special funeral urn and a five-tiered umbrella, that is very high status, is being used

Mr Head said elements of status at the funeral were very important.

“You will see during the funeral artefacts given by King Vajiralongkorn – a special funeral urn and also a five-tiered umbrella that is very high status – being used,” he said.

He added: “People will watch the funeral in many ways to see how well thought of Vichai was.

“He was a successful businessman, but sometimes controversial.”

Image copyrightReuters
Image caption The funeral procession outside Wat Thep Sirin Thrawat temple

Image copyrightAFP/Getty Images
Image caption Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha bought Leicester City in 2010

Mr Vichai’s body arrived in Thailand on Friday ahead of the funeral.

Nusara Suknamai, Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner, Izabela Roza Lechowicz, also died in the crash last Saturday.

The wreckage of the helicopter was removed from outside the stadium on Friday.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has begun examining parts of the helicopter and the in-flight recorder.

Image copyrightReuters
Image caption Mourners gathered in front of the temple before the funeral

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