Billionaire soccer team owner’s helicopter crashes moments after leaving match
Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s helicopter has crashed in a ball of flames in the club’s stadium car park.
The eight-seater helicopter belonging to club chairman had flown from the King Power Stadium pitch live on TV moments before the explosion.
Eye-witnesses said the helicopter took off from the pitch at around 8:45 p.m. local time and crashed 200 yards away within seconds of taking off.
The helicopter was seen spiraling out of control in the air with an apparent problem with the tail fin.
Images taken at the scene show the helicopter engulfed in flames as fans leaving the ground watched on in horror. Emergency services are currently at the scene.
The billionaire’s company King Power confirmed Srivaddhanaprabha was on board when a failure upon takeoff resulted in a fire on board moments before the crash.
Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was among those seen in tears outside the stadium as fire crews doused the flames.
The wife of England and Leicester City legend Peter Shilton was among the eye-witnesses who saw the horror unfold.
Stephanie Shilton, 50, said: “It happened straight in front of us as we were leaving the ground. It’s horrendous.”
Srivaddhanaprabha is known to leave the stadium by his helicopter, which lands in the centre circle on the pitch, after every Leicester home game
Sources at the stadium suggested the club owner did the same following this evening’s clash with West Ham.
The crash was confirmed live on air by BT Sport host Jake Humphrey as the channel broadcast live from the stadium.
Earlier this evening Leicester played West Ham in a 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium in a match which finished at around 7.30pm.
A Leicestershire Police spokesman wrote on Twitter: “We are dealing with an incident in the vicinity of the King Power Stadium. Emergency services are aware and dealing.”
East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust tweeted: “We are also in attendance and will update when possible.”
One witness told Sky News: “I hope they’re okay. Doesn’t seem like they have had much of a chance. Just burst into flames.”
One fan told Sky News the owner and his family have done so much for the club. He said: “They have conducted themselves so well, they have put everything into us. They have made us champions. You cannot ask for more from your owners.”
Jonathan Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South, tweeted: “Awful horrific scenes at @LCFC with the helicopter crash. I’ve been in touch with our emergency services and thanked them for responding so quickly. Our hopes and prayers for all those caught up in this desperately awful incident.”
Broadcaster and former Leicester City footballer Gary Lineker tweeted: “Hearing that the Leicester City owners’ helicopter has crashed in the club’s car park.”
Thai billionaire Srivaddhanaprabha is the founder of King Power Duty Free and is worth around £2 billion.
He bought Leicester City Football Club in August 2010 and invested millions into the club.
The club won promotion to the Premier League under his ownership in 2014 and then, incredibly won the Premier League title in 2016. The achievement is seen as one of the greatest in footballing history.
Premier League football clubs and players have expressed their shock since the news broke this evening.
Leicester stars and England internationals Harry Maguire and James Maddison were among those to share tweets showing their prayers are with those on board with a series of emojis.
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