LEICESTER, England (Reuters) – Leicester City football club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was on board a helicopter crashed in front of the club's stadium, the BBC reported on Sunday, citing a source close to his family.
The helicopter crashed in a fireball on the club parking lot on Saturday after a Premier League game.
Officials of Vichai's club and company, duty-free giant King Power International, declined to comment on whether he was in the helicopter when he got out of hand and crashed about an hour after the game.
According to eyewitnesses, the helicopter has just cleared the top of the stadium before it began to spin. It then crashed to the ground and burst into flames.
Midlands club spokesman said on Saturday, "We support Leicestershire Police and the Rescue Services in dealing with a major incident at King Power Stadium."
John Butcher, who was near the stadium The crash told the BBC that his nephew had seen the helicopter out of control, apparently because of a broken rear propeller.
"Within a second, it fell like a rock on the ground … Luckily it spiraled awhile for a while and everyone was running around scattered, so far as we know no one in the parking lot was attacked by this problem." [1
Vichai is a big fan favorite, having bought the unfounded Mid-England team in 2010 and stunned the football world by winning the championship title in 2016.
According to Forbes magazine, he is the fifth richest person in Thailand with an estimated net worth of $ 4.9 billion.
Leicestershire Police said a team from the Department of Aircraft Accident Investigation Department had taken over the investigation into the cause of the accident.
After pumping millions of pounds into the club, he helped return to the league in 2014 before touching on the sport and beating Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea.
Leading players, including Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire, sent messages of support on Twitter while other clubs, including Manchester City, voiced their concerns.
Freelance photographer Ryan Brown reported on the game and saw the helicopter clean the stadium before it crashed, the BBC reported.
"In the truest sense of the word, the engine stopped and I turned around and it made a bit of a whir," Brown told BBC Radio 5 Live. "It was quiet, the blades began to spin and then there was a big bang."
Leicester had played a league game against West Ham United on Saturday at home.
The self-made businessman Vichai founded the Thai duty-free giant King Power in 1989.
The duty-free business was heavily promoted in 2006 under the monarchy of then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's government, and it also continued after Thaksin's fall this year.
The family empire also includes the Belgian football club Oud-Heverlee Leuven.
Reporting by William Schomberg; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle