Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 4°C
AP/PA Images This image made from video shows a burning helicopter in a parking lot outside the King Power Stadium in Leicester.
# Accident
Helicopter crashes outside stadium following Leicester-West Ham Premier League game
There is no news yet on the condition or the identity of the individuals in the helicopter.

Updated at 00.35

A HELICOPTER BELONGING to Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha has crashed outside the King Power Stadium following the club’s Premier League match against West Ham tonight

The helicopter was seen enveloped in flames in mobile phone images shot at the scene and an AFP photographer at the scene saw smoke coming from the wreckage.

The news was announced on BT Sport by presenter Jake Humphrey before their coverage of the game ended prematurely as the building was evacuated.

There is no update yet on the condition or the identity of the individuals in the helicopter. It is also not yet known if anyone on the ground was injured.

Thai businessman Srivaddhanaprabha, who has poured millions into the club, often leaves the stadium in his helicopter, which takes off from the pitch, after he attends a Leicester home game.

A statement from Leicestershire Police read: “We are dealing with an incident in the vicinity of the King Power Stadium. Emergency services are aware and dealing.”

Leicester City have also released a statement, which reads: “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.”

According to a Sky News report, witnesses said the helicopter lost control within a few seconds of taking off and crashed in the club’s staff car park.

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.”

The local ambulance service said it was alerted at 8.30pm.

“We sent a doctor, 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,” it tweeted.

Sky Sports said the helicopter took off from the pitch between 8.30pm-8.45pm local time but developed problems shortly afterwards with its tail rotor.

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It was under the ownership of Srivaddhanaprabha that Leicester created one of the biggest shocks in English football history by winning the 2015/16 Premier League, having started the season as 5,000/1 outsiders for the title.

West Ham defender Pablo Zabaleta, who played in Saturday’s 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.”

Freelance photographer Ryan Brown, who was covering the game, told BBC Radio 5 Live he saw the helicopter rise out of the stadium before it crashed.

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,” he said.

He said he saw “a huge fireball” when he ran to the scene.

Additional reporting by AFP

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