LEICESTER, England (Reuters) – Leicester City soccer membership proprietor Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was on board a helicopter that crashed exterior the membership’s stadium, the BBC reported on Sunday, quoting a supply near his household.
The helicopter crashed in a ball of flames within the membership’s automotive park on Saturday after a Premier League match.
Officials from the membership and Vichai’s company, duty-free big King Power International, declined to touch upon whether or not he was within the helicopter when it spiralled uncontrolled and crashed round an hour after the game.
According to eyewitnesses, the helicopter simply cleared the highest of the stadium earlier than it began to spin. It then plummeted to the bottom and burst into flames.
A spokesman for the Midlands membership mentioned on Saturday: “We are assisting Leicestershire Police and the emergency services in dealing with a major incident at King Power Stadium.”
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 as a consequence of 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.”
In Thailand, officers at King Power mentioned they may not but touch upon the crash or say whether or not Vichai had been aboard.
Vichai is a large favorite with the followers after he purchased the unfancied facet from central England in 2010 and so they went on to stun the soccer world by profitable the league title in 2016.
According to Forbes journal he’s the fifth richest particular person in Thailand with an estimated internet value of $four.9 billion.
Leicestershire Police mentioned a workforce from the Department for Transport’s Air Accidents Investigations Branch had taken cost of the investigation into the reason for the crash.
After pumping hundreds of thousands of kilos into the membership, he helped steer them again into the highest flight in 2014 earlier than they shocked the game by beating the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea to change into champions of England.
Leading gamers within the facet, together with Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire, despatched messages of assist on Twitter whereas rival golf equipment together with Manchester City additionally voiced their concern.
Freelance photographer Ryan Brown was masking the game and noticed the helicopter clear the stadium earlier than it crashed, the BBC reported.
“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.”
Leicester had performed a league match at home in opposition to West Ham United earlier on Saturday, drawing 1-1.
The self-made businessman Vichai based Thai duty-free big King Power in 1989.
The duty-free business received an enormous enhance in 2006 when it was granted an airport monopoly beneath the government of then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and it continued to prosper even after Thaksin’s ouster in a coup that yr.
The household’s empire additionally consists of Belgian soccer membership, Oud-Heverlee Leuven.
Reporting by William Schomberg; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle