A helicopter belonging by Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha has burst into flames after it crashed yards away from the King Power stadium this evening.
Fans were shell-shocked and some broke down in tears as flames engulfed the club’s staff car park where the helicopter crashed at around 8.30pm tonight, shortly after Leicester’s 1-1 draw with West Ham.
Eyewitness said the helicopter took off as normal from the centre circle and was hovering over the south east corner of the ground before spluttering and spiraling to ground, near Filbert Way and bursting into flames.
Spectators who were at the game said they witnessed the helicopter spinning out of control and that there was a problem with the tail rotor of the aircraft.
A reporter for Sky Sports News said people were ‘running for their lives’ in the aftermath of the crash.
Rob Dorsett said: ‘The car park was certainly it was still populated with people at the time whether that was members of staff leaving the stadium or spectators watching the game. It’s so close to the stadium, a couple of hundred metres – if that – from the stands.
‘There has be to concern for people who are walking back to their cars or get buses back to the train station and any impact that would have.
‘An eye-witness and his nephew ran for their lives, they were that concerned they were going to be hit by the wreckage of the helicopter. It burst into flames as it hit the ground. There has to be concerns for people in and around the area after the game.
However, we must stress, the majority of the crowd would have left by that time.’
Mr Srivaddhanaprabha’s and his entourage leaving the King Power by helicopter has become a familiar sight as he frequently takes off from the centre circle of Leicester’s ground.
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha attended the 1-1 draw on Saturday night, the club confirmed, but it is unclear whether he was on board the £2million Augusta Westland AW-169 aircraft or whether anyone on the ground was injured.
Tim Acott, Leicester season ticket holder of 40 years, said: ‘It just came out of the stadium already spinning then down to the ground.
‘Just in a spiral. It hit the ground with a big bang then burst into flames. It’s over on the other side of the car park, I don’t think there were people there. I’m shaking like anything.’
A Leicester City fan named John, who was at the game today, told Sky Sports News: ‘We was in the bar facing the King Power – my nephew was in a real state of shock. He said he saw this helicopter out of control then drop within a second and burst into flames. He was so upset – we’re all thinking about the owners here and what they’ve done for the football club. It’s awful, you can’t believe it.’
The area around the ground has been closed off, while the stadium has been evacuated. West Ham’s team bus had already left, though some Leicester players were still inside the stadium.
Leicester City defender Harry Maguire tweeted a video of the aftermath of the crash with praying hands emojis. Midfielder James Maddison also posted the same emojis following the game.
Former Leicester City striker and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker tweeted: ‘Hearing that the Leicester City owners’ helicopter has crashed in the club’s car park.’
Leicestershire police said in a statement: ‘We are dealing with an incident in the vicinity of the King Power Stadium. Emergency services are aware and dealing.’