Chopper carrying Leicester City chairman crashes outside King Power Stadium
A helicopter believed to be carrying Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the chairman of football club Leicester City, crashed outside the King Power Stadium shortly after Leicester's home draw with West Ham United on Saturday night. While emergency teams rushed to the spot after the crash, the identities of those onboard remained unclear in the immediate aftermath of the crash. Here are the details.
A bit about Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha
According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Srivaddhanaprabha is worth $3.3bn. Most of Srivaddhanaprabha's wealth derives from the King Power Group, which he developed into Thailand's biggest duty-free company. The billionaire also owns a 4% stake in Air Asia, the region's biggest budget airline.
The helicopter encountered a rotor problem shortly after takeoff
The chopper, which routinely takes off from the King Power Stadium, reportedly encountered a problem with its tail rotor shortly after takeoff. Eyewitnesses said that the helicopter just cleared the roof of the stands before spiralling down to earth. The helicopter crashed outside a fence surrounding the stadium perimeter, and was engulfed in a huge fireball.
An eyewitness recounts what he saw
"Literally the engine stopped and I turned around, and it made a bit of a whirring noise. It turned silent, blades started spinning and then there was a big bang," said freelance photographer Ryan Brown, who witnessed the crash.
BBC claims that Srivaddhanaprabha was on board
It is unclear whether the crash damaged any objects or injured bystanders. While authorities have yet to identify the pilot and the passengers, BBC reported that Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was on board, based on an account by a person close to the billionaire. However, Srivaddhanaprabha's company, King Power, refused to comment on the accident or on Srivaddhanaprabha's fate. It's unclear whether there are any survivors.