Deaths feared after helicopter crash at Premier League football ground

This image from video shows a burning helicopter in a parking lot outside the King Power Stadium in Leicester.
This image from video shows a burning helicopter in a parking lot outside the King Power Stadium in Leicester.
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The helicopter of Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha crashed outside the King Power Stadium after the Premier League game against West Ham.

The incident occurred in the club’s car park, where police cars and emergency services rushed towards an area where flames were visible before the area was evacuated.

Emergency services outside the King Power Stadium after the helicopter of Leicester City Football Club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha crashed nearby.

Emergency services outside the King Power Stadium after the helicopter of Leicester City Football Club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha crashed nearby.

Srivaddhanaprabha was in the helicopter when it came down, a source close to the family has told the BBC.

It is not known how many other people were on board the helicopter and police have yet to release any information about the condition of the pilot or any passengers.

Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, Leicester’s vice-chairman and Srivaddhanaprabha’s son, was not at the game.

Leicestershire Police said: “Emergency services are dealing with an incident at the King Power Stadium, in Leicester, after an aircraft came down in a car park behind the ground earlier this evening.

Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

“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.”

Srivaddhanaprabha leaves the stadium by his helicopter, which lands in the centre circle on the pitch, after every Leicester home game.

Srivaddhanaprabha, who owns the King Power company, bought Leicester in 2010 and became chairman the following February.

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.”

A helicopter belonging to Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

A helicopter belonging to Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Pete Ripley, associate director of operations at East Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “We received a call at 8.38pm on 27 October to reports of a helicopter crash in the car park of King Power Stadium in Leicester.

“We have sent a doctor in a car, two paramedics in ambulance cars, a crewed ambulance and our Hazardous Area Response Team, with the first resource arriving within two minutes of the call.

“We are currently working with our colleagues in Leicestershire Police and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service at the scene.

“We advise members of the public to stay away from the area while we deal with this incident.”

A Leicester City spokesman said: “We are assisting Leicestershire Police and the emergency services in dealing with a major incident at King Power Stadium. The club will issue a more detailed statement once further information has been established.”

Witnesses said the helicopter took off from the pitch but lost control within a few seconds and crashed into the club’s staff car park.

It is not known who was in the helicopter when it crashed nor what conditions they are in, but there are fears that several people had been killed.

It is also unclear whether anyone on the ground was affected.

Megan Blockley, who was across the road when the crash happened, said: “The damage was really bad. They’d just put the fire out when I got there and it had been burned right through.

“I was just in the bingo hall across the road and I heard the sirens.

“I rushed out and there were four fire engines and loads of police.”

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 okay.”

Leicester footballers Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire both tweeted praying hands emojis.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha invested heavily into horse racing in the past two years, running horses under the King Power Racing Co Ltd banner, named after the duty-free shopping empire through which he made his fortune.

The owner’s blue and white silks have been carried to victory multiple Group 2-winner Beat The Bank as connections built up a partnership with top jockey Oisin Murphy.

Trainer Andrew Balding had been the main beneficiary of Srivaddhanaprabha’s increased involvement in the sport, saddling 27 winners from 166 runners.

Poignantly the King Power-owned Morando, ridden by Rob Hornby, dead-heated with Young Rascal, the mount of Jim Crowley, in a thrilling finish to Newbury’s historic St Simon Stakes at 2.20pm on Saturday.

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.”

Leicester’s Hospitals tweeted: “We are aware of the incident in the vicinity of the King Power Stadium and are supporting emergency services.”

Andrew Brodie, Assistant Chief Fire Officer at Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, tweeted: “IMPORTANT: Energency Services are dealing with a significant incident @lcfc King Power stadium. It’s essential you stay away and allow 999s free movement. More info will follow.”

West Ham defender Pablo Zabaleta, who played in the game, tweeted: “My thoughts and prayers are with all those involved in the helicopter accident at Leicester City.”

His team-mate Declan Rice tweeted: “Horrendous scenes at the King Power tonight, my prayers & thoughts go out to everyone involved at Leicester”