Leicester City FC owner may have been in the helicopter when it crashed


first_imgLeicester City football club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s helicopter crashed right outside the club’s stadium on Saturday after a Premier League match between Leicester and West Ham United.The match ended in a draw and about an hour later, the helicopter spiralled out of control and crashed in the club’s car park.Many spectators saw the incident happening while there are reports suggesting that club goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel ran to the scene hearing emergency bells and witnessed the scenario with tears in his eyes.BBC reported on Sunday, quoting a source close to his family, that Srivaddhanaprabha was on board when the helicopter crashed outside the King Power stadium.In the latest news coming in, Reuters source close to the club has said that chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was among five people on board when the helicopter crashed on Saturday. Also on board were, a daughter of Vichai, two pilots and a fifth person whose identity is not known. No details on whether anyone on board the helicopter survived.Officials from the club and Vichai’s company, duty-free giant King Power International, declined to comment on whether he was in the helicopter when the crash happened.According to eyewitnesses, the helicopter just cleared the top of the stadium before it started to spin. It then plummeted to the ground and burst into flames.A spokesman for the Midlands club said: “We are assisting Leicestershire Police and the emergency services in dealing with a major incident at King Power Stadium.”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.advertisementLeicester City (@LCFC) October 27, 2018Police and the ambulance services urged people to stay away.John Butcher, who was near the stadium at the time of the crash, told the BBC his nephew saw the helicopter spiral out of control apparently due to a faulty rear propeller.”Within a second it dropped like a stone to the floor…Luckily it did spiral for a little while and everybody sort of ran, sort of scattered. As far as we are aware nobody around the car park was caught up in this problem.”Vichai is a huge favourite with the fans after he bought the unfancied side from central England in 2010 and they went on to stun the soccer world by winning the league title in 2016.According to Forbes magazine he is the fifth richest person in Thailand with an estimated net worth of $4.9 billion.Leicestershire Police said a team from the Department for Transport’s Air Accidents Investigations Branch had taken charge of the investigation into the cause of the crash.ENGLISH CHAMPIONSAfter pumping millions of pounds into the club, he helped steer them back into the top flight in 2014 before they stunned the sport by beating the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea to become champions of England.Leading players in the side, including Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire, sent messages of support on Twitter while rival clubs including Manchester City also voiced their concern.Freelance photographer Ryan Brown was covering the game and saw the helicopter clear the stadium before it crashed, the BBC reported.”Literally the engine stopped and I turned around, and it made a bit of a whirring noise,” Brown told BBC Radio 5 Live. “It turned silent, blades started spinning and then there was a big bang.”Leicester had played a league match at home against West Ham United earlier on Saturday, drawing 1-1.The self-made businessman Vichai founded Thai duty-free giant King Power in 1989.The duty-free business got a big boost in 2006 when it was granted an airport monopoly under the government of then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and it continued to prosper even after Thaksin’s ouster in a coup that year.The family’s empire also includes Belgian football club, Oud-Heverlee Leuven.(With Reuters inputs)last_img

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