Britain

Leicester owner’s helicopter crashes outside stadium

A helicopter belonging to the owner of Leicester City has crashed in a ball of flames outside the club's stadium.

Witnesses told Sky Sports News there was a loud mechanical sound before they saw the aircraft spiralling then crashing into a huge fireball in car park E – the club's staff car park which is about 200 yards from the stadium.

The helicopter had only taken off from the pitch seconds before at about 8.30pm.

It is not clear whether the club's Thai billionaire owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was on-board his helicopter at the time, but he was at the game which had finished 45 minutes earlier.

Image: Firefighters were seen putting the massive fire out
The helicopter of Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. File pic
Image: The Leicester City chairman's helicopter. File pic

Fans who were still leaving the stadium after Leicester City drew 1-1 with West Ham were seen running away as the helicopter came down and burst into flames.

The stadium was evacuated soon after the crash and the area around it was closed off. West Ham's team bus had already left but some Leicester players were still inside the stadium.

Sky Sports News reporter Rob Dorsett, at the scene, said: "At about 8:30 this evening, eye witnesses told me they saw the Leicester City owners' helicopter take off from the pitch inside the King Power stadium – as it does after every home game – and after a few seconds it appeared to lose control.

"It sounds as if there was a problem with the rear tail propeller which sent it spinning out of control and it crashed into the car park at the rear of the King Power Stadium, just a few hundred metres away from where the pitch is, before it burst into flames."

Soccer Football - Premier League - Leicester City v West Ham United - King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain - October 27, 2018 General view of the wreckage of the helicopter belonging to Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha that crashed outside the King Power Stadium REUTERS/Andrew Yates EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, ga
Image: Emergency services arrived at the scene within minutes
Football Soccer - Leicester City v Southampton - Barclays Premier League - The King Power Stadium - 3/4/16 Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha walks to his helicopter which has landed on the pitch after the game Reuters / Darren Staples Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publicat
Image: Mr Srivaddhanaprabha next to his helicopter at the King Power stadium

After every home game about 20 dignitaries are taken away from the stadium in the helicopter.

Vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, the owner's son known as Top, and the director of football, John Rudkin, were not on-board, according to Sky sources.

Police said: "We are dealing with an incident in the vicinity of the King Power Stadium. Emergency services are aware and dealing."

East Midlands Ambulance also said it is in attendance and will update as soon as possible.

Srivaddhanaprabha was at the helm when the club shocked the football world by winning the 2015-16 Premier League title.

Premier League - Leicester City vs West Ham United
Image: The helicopter is owned by Leicester City owner's Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

Many fans have stayed around the stadium out of concern for those in the helicopter, with a hush having spread through the supporters.

Leicester City fan John Butcher told Sky Sports News: "We were facing the ground from the bar across the road, I was with my nephew, we saw the helicopter spinning and it crashed within seconds then burst into flames.

"My nephew was in a real state of shock, he was so upset.

"Our hearts go out to whoever was onboard.

"The Srivaddhanaprabha family means everything to Leicester, they made us champions, you can't ask for more from owners – they won the league for us."

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— Jamie Vardy (@vardy7) October 27, 2018

Leicester's star striker Jamie Vardy tweeted eight praying emojis.

Former Leicester star Gary Lineker tweeted that his "thoughts with everyone concerned".

A spokesman for Leicester City said: "We are assisting Leicestershire Police and the Emergency Services in dealing with a major incident at King Power Stadium.

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The Club will issue a more detailed statement once further information has been established."

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