LEICESTER, England (Reuters) – Leicester City soccer membership proprietor Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, a Thai tycoon, was amongst 5 folks on board a helicopter that crashed after which exploded after a Premier League match on Saturday, a supply near the membership mentioned.
Also on board have been two pilots and one different individual whose id weren’t instantly recognized, the supply mentioned on Sunday. The supply additionally named a fifth individual on board.
There have been no affirmation that anybody on board survived, the supply mentioned. Leicester police mentioned enquiries into the crash would proceed.
Vichai, a father of 4 and founding father of duty-free big King Power International, is a big favorite with the membership’s followers after he purchased the unfancied aspect from central England in 2010 they usually went on to stun the soccer world by beating odds of 5,000/1 to win the Premier League title in 2016.
In Thailand, officers at King Power mentioned they might not but touch upon the crash or say whether or not Vichai had been aboard when it spiralled uncontrolled and crashed shortly after taking off round an hour after the game. The membership has not commented on the main points of the crash.
The helicopter got here down yards from the King Power Stadium’s grandstands in a membership automotive park. Team supervisor Claude Puel was not on the helicopter, the supply mentioned.
According to witnesses, the helicopter had barely cleared the highest of the stadium earlier than it began to spin. It then plummeted to the bottom and burst into flames.
John Butcher, who was close to the stadium on the time of the crash, advised the BBC his nephew noticed the helicopter spiral uncontrolled apparently attributable to a defective 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.”
After pumping thousands and thousands of kilos into the membership, Vichai helped steer Leicester again into the highest flight in 2014 earlier than they surprised the game by beating the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea to grow to be champions of England.
Hundreds of followers laid flowers, soccer shirts and scarves exterior the stadium in tribute to Vichai on Sunday morning.
“He’s put so much money into the club. He has brought the club up from receivership, put the money in, built the team, won the Premiership,” 68-year-old fan Richard Mobbs advised Reuters.
“The future is looking bright or at least it was looking bright.”
According to Forbes journal, Vichai is the fifth-richest individual in Thailand with an estimated web value of $four.9 billion.
The self-made businessman’s duty-free company, based in 1989, was granted an airport monopoly in 2006 below the government of prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. It continued to prosper even after Thaksin’s ousting in a coup that 12 months.
The household’s empire additionally contains Belgian soccer membership, Oud-Heverlee Leuven.
Leading Leicester gamers, together with Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire, despatched messages of assist on Twitter whereas rival golf equipment together with Manchester City voiced their concern.
Freelance photographer Ryan Brown was overlaying the game and noticed the helicopter clear the stadium earlier than it crashed.
“Literally the engine stopped and I turned around, and it made a bit of a whirring noise,” Brown advised BBC Radio 5 Live. “It turned silent, blades started spinning and then there was a big bang.”
Soccer followers in Thailand have been shocked by the news of the crash.
“Thailand has the Leicester team — that is well known to us and we always send our moral support,” Chuleeporn Kamonwasitkul mentioned on a soccer area in Bangkok. “No matter if you’re a fan of Leicester or not, all of the Thai people are sending our thoughts and prayers for them to be safe.”
Leicester had performed a league match at home in opposition to West Ham United earlier on Saturday, drawing 1-1.
Reporting by William Schomberg and Alex Fraser; Additional reporting by Jason Cairnduff, Patpicha Tanakasempipat and Aukkarapon Niyomyat; Writing by Paul Sandle and Kate Holton; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg