Leicester City owner's helicopter crashes in fireball at stadium

Pictures courtesy of Sky News

A helicopter belonging to the owner of Leicester City has crashed outside the club’s stadium following the Premier League game with West Ham tonight.

Photos showed a huge fireball, while witnesses told Sky Sports News the helicopter took off from the pitch but lost control within a few seconds and crashed into car park E – the club’s staff car park which is about 200 yards from the stadium.

A club 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.”

BeinSports journalist Ben Jacobs wrote on Twitter: “Spoken to King Power, who will release a statement tomorrow. #LCFC owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was on-board the eight-seater helicopter to London. Failure, upon take off, resulted in a fire prior to a crash in the car park. No news on casualties. Prayers with #LCFC family.”

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Sky Sports News reporter Rob Dorsett added: “Apparently some problem with the tail fin meant it span and crashed into the car park.”

It is not clear who was on board or their conditions.

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

Leicester chairman and owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was at the helm when the club shocked the football world by winning the 2015-16 Premier League title.

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

The crash happened more than an hour after the game finished following a 5.30pm kick-off in which Leicester City drew 1-1 with West Ham.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, owner of Leicester City
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, owner of Leicester City

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.

“Our hearts go out to whoever was onboard.”

Photographer Ryan Brown was an eyewitness to the crash. He told BBC Radio 5Live: “I had just been covering the game as I do most days. I heard the helicopter take off in the stadium, which is a regular occurrence at every Leicester City home game.

“I thought to myself how nice that would be to have a helicopter and be home within a few minutes, and then literally the engine stopped. I turned around and it made a little bit of a whirring noise, a grinding noise and then it fell silent.

A helicopter belonging to Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha on the pitch at the King Power Stadium
A helicopter belonging to Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha on the pitch at the King Power Stadium

“I turned round and it was spinning out of control. The blades had stopped – it was spinning and there was a big bang and then a big fireball. Lots of people started running towards the scene, likewise myself, and as I came around the corner there was just a huge fireball.

“It crashed literally near the stadium. It just cleared the stadium roof-line and landed in an industrial park next to the stadium.

By the looks of it, it crashed just straight into the ground.”