Leicester City: Soccer club owner’s helicopter crashes after match
LEICESTER CITY, UK — A helicopter belonging to the owner of Leicester City Football Club burst into flames after crashing in a parking lot next to the club’s King Power Stadium in Leicester about an hour after the match Saturday night.
The club released a short statement confirming that a “major incident” had occurred near the stadium, and that it was assisting police.
“We are assisting Leicestershire Police and the emergency services in dealing with a major incident at King Power Stadium,” the published statement said.
“The Club will issue a more detailed statement once further information has been established.”
The Premier League club has not confirmed if its owner, Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was on board at the time of the crash, though he is known to regularly travel to and from the stadium by helicopter.
Leicestershire Police said they are investigating the incident, as images and video spread online of flames leaping from the crash site.
“Emergency services are currently at the King Power Stadium where an aircraft came down in a car park behind the ground,” Leicestershire police tweeted. “Enquiries to establish the exact circumstances of the collision are ongoing.”
British media reported that witnesses saw the helicopter struggling mid-air before it fell.
“I hope they’re okay,” one witness told Sky News. “Doesn’t seem like they have had much of a chance. Just burst into flames.”
The owner of King Power, Srivaddhanaprabha bought the club for $57 million in 2010 and it was promoted to the Premier League in 2014. In 2016, the club achieved the once unthinkable feat of winning the premiership.
The crash occurred about one hour after Leicester City drew 1-1 against West Ham United.
West Ham tweeted: “The thoughts of all at West Ham United are with everybody at Leicester City at this time.”
Some of its players also extended their sympathies. Defender Pablo Zabaleta said: “My thoughts and prayers are with all those involved in the helicopter accident at Leicester City.”
“Horrendous scenes at the king power tonight, my prayers & thoughts go out to everyone involved at Leicester,” said his teammate Declan Rice.
Premier League club Arsenal tweeted: “We’re saddened by tonight’s incident and we’re all thinking of you at this difficult time.”