Leicester City owner’s helicopter crashes ‘with him aboard’ in car park outside the team’s stadium

Leicester City owner’s helicopter crashes ‘with him aboard’ in car park outside the team’s stadium and bursts into flames after ‘suffering engine trouble’ in wake of take-off from the centre circle

  • Helicopter belonging to Leicester City’s owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha crashed outside the stadium
  • The incident happened just minutes after Leicester City’s 1-1 draw with West Ham on Saturday night 
  • Eyewitnesses recalled seeing the helicopter spluttering shortly after taking off from inside the stadium 
  • Fans were left shell-shocked and some were in tears after the aircraft came down inside the club’s car park 
  • It is unclear who was on board the helicopter at the time of the crash but Leicester’s owner was at the game 
  • Are you in the area or did you witness the incident? Please email charlie.bayliss@mailonline.co.uk 

Witnesses reported seeing the Augusta Westland AW-169 aircraft suffering engine trouble and spinning out of control shortly after it took off from the centre-circle.

The condition of billionaire Mr Srivaddhanaprabha is not known, but he is believed to have been on board according to BT Sports pundits in the stadium who watched the helicopter take off.

Mr Srivaddhanaprabha made his money in retail in Thailand and his King Power duty-free shops are in every airport in the Asian country.

The sound of the helicopter crash could be heard on a BT Sport post-match broadcast and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is said to have witnessed the crash and broke down in tears.

The helicopter belonging to Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha crashed outside the King Power Stadium following Leicester's 1-1 draw with West Ham yesterday

Following the evening kick-off game on Saturday, the helicopter was seen landing on the centre circle of the pitch

 Huge plumes of smoke were seen billowing in the air following the crash at around 8.30pm on Saturday

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Police and ambulance services were unable to provide any details as to whether there had been any causalities.

Fans were shell-shocked and some broke down in tears as the helicopter plummeted to the ground near the club’s staff car park at around 8.30pm on Saturday, shortly after Leicester’s 1-1 draw with West Ham.

The £2million aircraft was spotted hovering over the south east corner of the ground before spluttering and spiraling to ground, near Filbert Way, and bursting into flames.

BT Sports cameras captured the moments leading up to the helicopter preparing for take-off as presenter Jake Humphreys seemed to confirm Mr Srivaddhanaprabha was on board.

Spectators at the game said they witnessed the helicopter spinning out of control and that there was a problem with the tail rotor of the aircraft.

Leicester City owner’s helicopter takes off minutes before crash
A huge inferno erupted after the helicopter crashed just outside Leicester City's King Power stadium following their 1-1 draw with West Ham

The helicopter came down near to Leicester City's staff car park at around 8.30pm today

‘Get back’: Leicester City owner’s helicopter moments after crash

One man, who wished not to be named, but has had a season ticket for over 40 years, told Sky News: ‘I saw Kasper Schmeichel run out first and then loads of security guards and stewards.

‘I was stood outside the ground but it crashed on the other side. I hope everyone is OK.’

Former England legend Peter Shilton and his wife witnessed the carnage unfold.

His partner Stephanie, 50, said: ‘We are both in shock on our way home. It happened straight in front of us as we were leaving the ground.

‘We don’t know what has happened. It’s horrendous. We need to know if everyone is OK. That’s the biggest thing. We just hope that everyone got out OK.’

Rob Dorsett said: ‘The car park was certainly it was still populated with people at the time whether that was members of staff leaving the stadium or spectators watching the game. It’s so close to the stadium, a couple of hundred metres – if that – from the stands.

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‘There has be to concern for people who are walking back to their cars or get buses back to the train station and any impact that would have.

‘An eye-witness and his nephew ran for their lives, they were that concerned they were going to be hit by the wreckage of the helicopter. It burst into flames as it hit the ground. There has to be concerns for people in and around the area after the game.

From left to right: Jake Humphreys, Owen Hargreaves, Chris Sutton and John Hartson in the studio at the King Power stadium following the game on Saturday. The helicopter can be seen in the centre circle of the pitch

A helicopter belonging to Leicester City football club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha is on fire after it crashed in the King Power Stadium car park in Leicester

The helicopter took off from the King Power stadium but just seconds into its journey, the aircraft began to spin out of control and crashed in car park E

‘However, we must stress, the majority of the crowd would have left by that time.’

Mr Srivaddhanaprabha’s and his entourage leaving the King Power by helicopter has become a familiar sight as he frequently takes off from the centre circle of Leicester’s ground.

It is unclear whether there were any injuries on the ground but Leicester’s vice-chairman Aiyawatt ‘Top’ Srivaddanaprabha and Leicester Director of Football John Rudkin were not on board the helicopter, according to Sky sources.

Photographs near the crash site show at least one vehicle with its windows blown out and its roof burnt.

Emergency services arrive at scene of Leicester helicopter crash.
While the fire appears to be under control from photographs at the scene, the helicopter appears to have been completely destroyed by the powerful blaze

Firefighters have managed to fight their way through the blaze and extinguish the fire. The helicopter came down shortly after Leicester City's 1-1 draw with West Ham

Cars near to the scene of the crash also appear to have been incinerated by the blaze. It is unclear if there were any injuries on the ground

Cars near to the scene of the crash also appear to have been incinerated by the blaze. It is unclear if there were any injuries on the ground

Police officers secure the area outside Leicester City Football Club's King Power Stadium in Leicester, eastern England, on October 27, 2018 after a helicopter crashed in a car park outside the stadium

Police officers secure the area outside Leicester City Football Club’s King Power Stadium in Leicester, eastern England, on October 27, 2018 after a helicopter crashed in a car park outside the stadium

Police move football fans away from helicopter crash crime scene

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Emergency services are at the scene following the incident and an area surrounding the ground has been closed off

It is unclear who was on board the helicopter at the time of the crash. Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha is believed to be the only family member who attended the 1-1 draw on Saturday night

An ambulance and ambulance car was filmed driving slowly away from the King Power stadium shortly before 10.30pm.

Tim Acott, Leicester season ticket holder of 40 years, said: ‘It just came out of the stadium already spinning then down to the ground.

‘Just in a spiral. It hit the ground with a big bang then burst into flames. It’s over on the other side of the car park, I don’t think there were people there. I’m shaking like anything.’

A host of former and current players, as well as West Ham chairman Lady Karren Brady, tweeted in the aftermath of the crash

A host of former and current players, as well as West Ham chairman Lady Karren Brady, tweeted in the aftermath of the crash

A Leicester City fan named John, who was at the game today, told Sky Sports News: ‘We was in the bar facing the King Power – my nephew was in a real state of shock. He said he saw this helicopter out of control then drop within a second and burst into flames.

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‘He was so upset – we’re all thinking about the owners here and what they’ve done for the football club. It’s awful, you can’t believe it.’

The area around the ground has been closed off, while the stadium was evacuated. West Ham’s team bus had already left, though some Leicester players were still inside the stadium.

Leicester City defender Harry Maguire tweeted a video of the aftermath of the crash with praying hands emojis. Midfielder James Maddison, Ben Chilwell, Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy also posted the same emojis following the game.

England and Leicester City defender Ben Chilwell tweeted: ‘Speechless.’

West Ham defender Pablo Zabaleta, who played in the game, tweeted: ‘My thoughts and prayers are with all those involved in the helicopter accident at Leicester City.’

His teammate Declan Rice tweeted: ‘Horrendous scenes at the king power tonight, my prayers & thoughts go out to everyone involved at Leicester’

Former Foxes midfielder turned pundit Robbie Savage said: ‘What an absolutely terrible terrible day , my thoughts and prayers are with everyone at my old club Leicester city.’

Former Leicester City striker and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker tweeted: ‘Hearing that the Leicester City owners’ helicopter has crashed in the club’s car park.’

He later added: ‘That was the most difficult @BBCMOTD I’ve ever hosted. Thoughts are with everyone at Leicester City. A terrible tragedy. Heartbreaking.’

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.’

Leicestershire police said in a statement: ‘We are dealing with an incident in the vicinity of the King Power Stadium. Emergency services are aware and dealing.’

Leicester’s Hospitals added: ‘We are aware of the incident in the vicinity of the King Power Stadium and are supporting emergency services.’

The helicopter of Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha lands on the pitch at the end of the game before making its final journey

The helicopter of Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha lands on the pitch at the end of the game before making its final journey

Andrew Brodie, Assistant Chief Fire Officer at Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, tweeted: ‘IMPORTANT: Energency Services are dealing with a significant incident @lcfc King Power stadium. It’s essential you stay away and allow 999s free movement. More info will follow.’

A Leicester City spokesman said: ‘We are assisting Leicestershire Police and the Emergency Services in dealing with a major incident at King Power Stadium. The Club will issue a more detailed statement once further information has been established.’

East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust said: ‘We received a call at 8.38pm this evening to reports of a helicopter crash near King Power Stadium. We sent a doctor, two paramedics in ambulance cars, a crewed ambulance and our Hazardous Area Response Team, with the first resource arriving within two minutes of the call.

‘We are currently working with our colleagues in Leicestershire Police and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service at the scene.

We advise members of the public to stay away from the area while we deal with this incident.’

The King Power stadium following the aftermath of the crash on Saturday evening. People were told to stay away from the ground after the incident

Police cordon remains in place overnight at King Power Stadium.

King Power are due to release a statement tomorrow once more details have been confirmed.

Srivaddhanaprabha bought Leicester City in August 2010 and was named chairman in February 2011.

The club famously defied odds of 5,000-1 to clinch the Premier League title in the 2015-16 season – as Srivaddhanaprabha gifted each player their own £100,000 BMW i8 as a reward for their unprecedented success.

Srivaddhanaprabha was born in Bangkok on April 4, 1958 to a Thai Chinese family.

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The Thai billionaire Srivaddhanaprabha kick-started his business journey by opening a duty free shop back in Bangkok in 1989 at the age of 31.

His retail company, King Power, is now a staple of the country’s airports and the brand also have the naming rights to Leicester City’s stadium. 

Smouldering remains of Leicester City owner’s helicopter crash
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha waves to fans after a Premier League clash between Leicester City and Southampton in April 2016. He was at the game but it is unclear whether he was on board the helicopter

Srivaddhanaprabhabought the club for £39m in 2010 and the Thai billionaire led them to a Premier League title. Pictured: Srivaddhanaprabha with Wes Morgan

Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha walks to his helicopter which has landed on the pitch after the game against Southampton in April 2016

The Leicester City owners helicopter lands on the pitch after the match Leicester City v FC Porto in September 2016. The two-year old Augusta Westland AW-169 costs £2million when new

Former Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez accepts one of the blue protonic blue BMW I8s that was a gift from the team that won the Premier League title in the 2015-15 season

Popular Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha started with a duty free shop in 1989 and will always be the owner that guided club to title

By Nathan Salt for MailOnline

A helicopter belonging to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was engulfed in flames after taking off from the King Power Stadium following his side’s 1-1 draw with West Ham.

Srivaddhanaprabha usually departs the King Power inside his private helicopter after home games alongside other members of the club’s hierarchy.

Here, Sportsmail profiles Srivaddhanaprabha’s success in and out of football, including how he helped Leicester win the Premier League title in 2016.

He is fifth on the Thailand richlist of billionaires and is said to be worth close to £4billion

Srivaddhanaprabha was born in Bangkok on April 4, 1958 to a Thai Chinese family.

The Thai billionaire Srivaddhanaprabha kick-started his business journey by opening a duty free shop back in Bangkok in 1989 at the age of 31.

His retail company, King Power, is now a staple of the country’s airports and the brand also have the naming rights to Leicester City’s stadium.

Having been the club’s primary shirt sponsor for the three previous seasons, he wanted to step up his involvement and opted to go all in and become owner.

Buying the club for a reported £39million in 2010 proved a shrewd investment as he oversaw a meteoric rise which saw the Foxes historically win the Premier League title in 2015-16.

When he took over, the club had just earned promotion from League One, the third tier in the English football pyramid, and with Nigel Pearson trusted to remain in charge, the Foxes were quickly back in the Premier League.

According to Forbes, the Midlands club is now valued at £371m after becoming a staple of the top half in the league under Srivaddhanaprabha’s reign.

Ranked as fifth on Forbes’ Thailand rich list, Srivaddhanaprabha has built his empire up to a staggering $4.9billion (£3.8bn).

Sportsmail profiles the career of Leicester City's Thai owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

After enjoying rich success with Leicester – which saw them defy all the odds in reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League, Srivaddhanaprabha bought Belgian club OH Leuven in May 2017.

The club reside in the Brlgian second division but could act as a real beneficiary for young players at Leicester in the future.

Srivaddhanaprabha is a keen football supporter and has continued to put money into the Foxes with his son Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha involved as club vice-chairman.

He is married to Aimon Srivaddhanaprabha, and has four children Voramas, Apichet, Arunroong, and Aiyawatt.

He is popular among players and is regularly in attendance for matches at the King Power

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