Leicester City owner’s helicopter crashes near stadium after match

The helicopter believed to be carrying Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, Leicester City’s chairman, crashed outside the King Power Stadium following Leicester’s home draw with West Ham United on Saturday night.

The identity of the passengers was unknown in the immediate aftermath, despite unconfirmed reports that Srivaddhanaprabha was on board, and it was unclear if there were any survivors.

The incident occurred around an hour after the final whistle. The Thai owner’s helicopter crashed near a car park near the south-east corner of the stadium shortly after taking off from the pitch at around 8.30pm.

According to a BBC report the Leicester chairman Srivaddhanaprabha was aboard when it crashed as eyewitness reports indicated that the helicopter only just cleared the roof of the stands, stayed in the air briefly and spiralled down to earth after reportedly developing a fault with its tail rotor. A huge fireball erupted and the air smelt of burning fuel in the hours after the crash. Emergency services rushed to the scene to tackle the fire and search the wreckage, with the area eventually cordoned off by Leicestershire police.

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.”

Leicestershire police said in the early hours of Sunday that the air accident investigation branch (AAIB) was leading the investigation into the circumstances of the crash.

The force said: “A cordon is currently in place at the scene to enable the AAIB to examine the area and complete their initial enquiries.

“Leicestershire police will be supporting the AAIB in its investigation, liaising closely with Leicester City football club as enquiries continue.”

Leicester are scheduled to play Southampton at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday in the Carabao Cup but there are now doubts over the fixture going ahead in light of recent events.

Srivaddhanaprabha bought the east Midlands club for £39m in 2010, helped Leicester return to the top flight of English football in 2014 and was at the helm when the club upset 5000/1 odds in 2015/16 to win the Premier League title.

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