Leicester City owner feared dead after billionaire’s helicopter crashes in fireball moments after leaving King Power Stadium

LEICESTER City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's helicopter crashed in a ball of flames in the club's stadium car park last night.

The eight-seater helicopter belonging to 60-year-old chairman had flown from the King Power Stadium pitch live on TV moments before the explosion.

 The helicopter became engulfed in a ball of flames

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The helicopter became engulfed in a ball of flames

The helicopter took off at around 8.45pm and nosedived in a ball of flames less than 200 yards away just seconds later.

Eye-witnesses said the AW169 helicopter spiralled out of control in the air with an apparent problem with the tail fin.

The billionaire's company King Power has reportedly confirmed Srivaddhanaprabha was on board when a failure upon take off resulted in a fire on board moments before the crash. The firm said it will release a statement later today.

Images taken at the scene show the helicopter engulfed in flames as fans leaving the ground watched on in horror.

 Horrified fans watched it burst into flames in the car park

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Horrified fans watched it burst into flames in the car park
 The helicopter took off and crashed at around 8.45pm

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The helicopter took off and crashed at around 8.45pm
 It was engulfed in flames within seconds of leaving the stadium pitch

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It was engulfed in flames within seconds of leaving the stadium pitch

It is feared several people were killed. Supporters were forced to run for their lives from debris falling to the ground as the helicopter crashed.

The chairman's son Aiyawatt, who is the club’s vice-chairman, and director of football Jon Rudkin were not on board, according to sources.

Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was among those seen in tears outside the stadium as fire crews doused the flames.

The wife of England and Leicester City legend Peter Shilton was among the eye-witnesses who saw the horror unfold.

Jake Humphrey and the BT Sport pundits discuss the Leicester City helicopter as it takes off behind them moments before crash

 The helicopter was shown on BT Sport coverage minutes before the crash

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The helicopter was shown on BT Sport coverage minutes before the crash
 Host Jake Humphrey and pundits on Premier League Tonight discussed the chopper as it took off

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Host Jake Humphrey and pundits on Premier League Tonight discussed the chopper as it took off
 The helicopter was seen landing on the pitch after the final whistle

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The helicopter was seen landing on the pitch after the final whistle
 Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha walking to the helicopter after a game in 2016

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Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha walking to the helicopter after a game in 2016
 Emergency crews were on the scene within minutes

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Emergency crews were on the scene within minutes
 Firefighters put out the flames within around 30 minutes

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Firefighters put out the flames within around 30 minutes
 There has been no official confirmation of fatalities

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There has been no official confirmation of fatalities

Stephanie Shilton, 50, said: "It happened straight in front of us as we were leaving the ground. It's horrendous."

Leo Bruka, 27, who lives near the stadium, told The Telegraph he was driving home from work when he saw the helicopter falling.

He said: "I saw the helicopter coming down, it was spinning very quickly."

One man, who wished not to be named, but has had a season ticket for over 40 years, said: "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."

Srivaddhanaprabha is well-known for leaving the stadium by his helicopter, which lands in the centre circle on the pitch, after every Leicester home game.

BT Sport pundit Jake Humphrey pointed to the aircraft from the studio during a live broadcast at the stadium and said: “As you can see the owners are now heading off.”

A loud explosion could be heard on post-match analysis show Premier League tonight just moments later.

The crash was then confirmed by the host live on air and the programme brought to an early end as the crew was evacuated from the stadium.

Leicester had just played West Ham in a 1-1 draw in the Premier League. The 5.30pm kick-off finished at around 7.30pm.

Smoke rises at Leicester City's King Power Stadium carpark where club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's helicopter crashed moments after taking off

 A cordon was created around the flames as the area was evacuated

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A cordon was created around the flames as the area was evacuated
 The helicopter had left the King Power Stadium moments before the crash

©MI News & Sport Ltd
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The helicopter had left the King Power Stadium moments before the crash
 Fire crews leaving the scene last night

AFP or licensors
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Fire crews leaving the scene last night
 Police cleared the area and evacuated the stadium

Reuters
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Police cleared the area and evacuated the stadium
 Heartbroken fans gathered outside the ground to wait for news

Reuters
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Heartbroken fans gathered outside the ground to wait for news

A Leicestershire Police spokesman said: "Emergency services are currently dealing with an incident at the King Power Stadium, in Leicester, after an aircraft came down in a car park behind the ground.

"Officers are working alongside the ambulance service, Leicester Fire and Rescue Service, the Air Accident Investigation Branch and Leicester City Football Club to establish the exact circumstances of the collision."

East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust tweeted: "We are also in attendance and will update when possible."

One witness told Sky News: "I hope they're okay. Doesn't seem like they have had much of a chance. Just burst into flames."

One fan told Sky News the owner and his family have done so much for the club. He said: "They have conducted themselves so well, they have put everything into us. They have made us champions. You cannot ask for more from your owners."

Emergency services attend Helicopter crash outside Leicester City’s King Power Stadium

 Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha lifting the Premier League trophy in 2016

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Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha lifting the Premier League trophy in 2016
 The businessman bought the club in 2010

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The businessman bought the club in 2010
 Fans and players have said they are preying for the 60-year-old

Reuters
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Fans and players have said they are preying for the 60-year-old

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."

Broadcaster and former Leicester City footballer Gary Lineker tweeted: "Hearing that the Leicester City owners' helicopter has crashed in the club's car park."

Thai billionaire Srivaddhanaprabha is the founder of King Power Duty Free and is worth around £2bn.

He bought Leicester City Football Club in August 2010 and invested millions into the club.

The club won promotion to the Premier League under his ownership in 2014 and then, incredibly won the Premier League title in 2016. The achievement is seen as one of the greatest in footballing history.

Premier League football clubs and players have expressed their shock since the news broke.

Leicester stars and England internationals Harry Maguire and James Maddison were among those to share tweets showing their prayers are with those on board with a series of emojis.

Witness describes the moment a helicopter belonging Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha crashed in the King Power Stadium carpark moments after taking off

LEICESTER City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's helicopter crashed in a ball of flames in the club's stadium car park last night.