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Leicester City owner ‘was on board crashed helicopter’

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The owner of Leicester City was on board his helicopter when it crashed in a ball of flames outside the football club’s stadium, Sky sources say.

Witnesses told Sky Sports News the aircraft spiralled then crashed to the ground in a huge fireball in car park E – the club’s staff car park which is about 200 metres from the stadium.

The helicopter, understood to be carrying the club’s Thai billionaire owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, had taken off from the pitch just moments earlier at around 8.30pm.

Leicester City soccer club's team owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha takes part in a parade to celebrate club's English Premier League title in Bangkok, Thailand May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha 
Picture Supplied by Action Images
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The helicopter is owned by Leicester City owner’s Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha (right)

Reuters news agency said four other people were also on-board, including Mr Srivaddhanaprabha’s daughter, two pilots and a fifth person who has not been identified.

After every home game a number of dignitaries are taken away from the stadium in the helicopter.

Vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, the owner’s son who is known as Top, and the director of football, John Rudkin, were not on-board, according to Sky sources.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Leicester City v West Ham United - King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain - October 27, 2018 General view of the wreckage of the helicopter belonging to Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha that crashed outside the King Power Stadium REUTERS/Andrew Yates EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, ga
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Firefighters were seen putting the massive fire out

Fans who were still leaving the stadium after Leicester City drew 1-1 with West Ham were seen running away as the helicopter came down.

The stadium was evacuated soon after the crash and the area around it was closed off. West Ham’s team bus had already left but some Leicester players were still inside the stadium.

The helicopter shortly before it took off on Saturday evening
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The helicopter shortly before it took off on Saturday evening

A man, who wished to not be named, but has held a season ticket for more than four decades, told Sky Sports he saw goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel running out of the stadium seconds after the crash before “loads of security guards and stewards”.

Many fans remained near the stadium out of concern for those in the helicopter, with a hush having spread through the supporters.

It has not been officially confirmed how many people were in the helicopter or how serious their injuries are, and it is not known whether anyone on the ground was affected.

Footage of the wreckage on Sunday morning showed the helicopter was completely burnt-out.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Leicester City v West Ham United - King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain - October 27, 2018 General view of the wreckage of the helicopter belonging to Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha that crashed outside the King Power Stadium REUTERS/Andrew Yates EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, ga
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Emergency services arrived at the scene within minutes

Sky Sports News reporter Rob Dorsett, at the scene, said: “At about 8.30 this evening, eyewitnesses told me they saw the Leicester City owner’s helicopter take off from the pitch inside the King Power Stadium – as it does after every home game – and after a few seconds it appeared to lose control.

“It sounds as if there was a problem with the rear tail propeller which sent it spinning out of control and it crashed into the car park at the rear of the King Power Stadium, just a few hundred metres away from where the pitch is, before it burst into flames.”

Football Soccer - Leicester City v Southampton - Barclays Premier League - The King Power Stadium - 3/4/16
Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha walks to his helicopter which has landed on the pitch after the game
Reuters / Darren Staples
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EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publicat
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Mr Srivaddhanaprabha next to his helicopter at the King Power Stadium

East Midlands Ambulance Service said it sent a doctor, ambulance and team of paramedics alongside a hazardous area response team to the car park.

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.

“My nephew was in a real state of shock, he was so upset.

“The Srivaddhanaprabha family means everything to Leicester, they made us champions, you can’t ask for more from owners – they won the league for us.”

Tributes have been left outside the stadium
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Flowers have been left outside the stadium as fans wait for news

Mr Srivaddhanaprabha was at the helm when the club shocked the football world by winning the 2015-16 Premier League title.

Jamie Vardy tweeted eight praying emojis
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Jamie Vardy tweeted eight praying emojis

Leicester’s star striker Jamie Vardy tweeted eight praying emojis and former Leicester star Gary Lineker tweeted that his “thoughts are with everyone at Leicester City” after the crash, which he described as “heartbreaking”.

A spokesman for Leicester City said they were assisting emergency services, adding: “The club will issue a more detailed statement once further information has been established.”

The Air Accident Investigation Branch has started its investigation and is at the scene of the crash.

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