The owner of Leicester City was on the helicopter which crashed to the ground and burst into flames moments after taking off from the centre of the pitch on Saturday evening, sources have said.
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, his daughter, two pilots and a fifth person were leaving the stadium in the aircraft when it began to spin and crashed in the corner of a car park of the King Power Stadium, Reuters reports.
The condition of those onboard, including Mr Srivaddhanaprabha, 60, who has four children, it not yet known.
A police officer rushed towards the helicopter belonging to the Leicester City owner, witnesses revealed, after it crashed at around 8.45pm. Witnesses have said the ‘engine stopped’ in the air, before the helicopter plummeted to the ground.
The unnamed officer attempted to pull open the door, to save those inside, before an ‘explosion’ turned the wreckage into a fireball and forced the Leicestershire officer back.
It is not clear if there are any survivors after the aircraft belonging to billionaire chairman Mr Srivaddhanaprabha.
Witnesses reported seeing the Augusta Westland AW-169 aircraft suffering engine trouble and spinning out of control shortly after it took off from the centre-circle.
According to eye witnesses a police officer was the first to run to the crash site and attempt to pull open a door but was ‘forced back by an explosion’ while his colleague searched for an extinguisher.
Local fan Leo Brooker told BBC Radio 5 Live: ‘One of them was looking for something, I don’t know what he was looking for inside the car something to prevent the fire, I don’t know.
And the other man, the other one, he run straight away to the helicopter and he was trying to break the window of the helicopter with, I don’t know what he had in his hand, a big metal or… I couldn’t see ’cause it was too dark.
‘But one of the policeman was trying to break the window and trying to get in and the other one was inside the car looking for something and then the next minute I see the police officer he had a fire extinguisher trying to prevent the fire and i don’t know even I was still scared.
And then this was all going on five to 10 seconds and then there was an explosion and even the policeman and all the three or four other guys that were trying to help but they just pulled back because the fire was going to hot.
It is understood emergency services spent twenty minutes attempting to extinguish the flames.
Early on Sunday fans began to arrive to the stadium with flowers, although it is not yet clear who was travelling in the helicopter at the time of the crash.
Initial reports had suggested Claude Puel may have been onboard, however, Gregory Campi, the AS Monaco Team 3 coach told Nice-Matin, this was not correct and the club’s manager was safe.
Mr Srivaddhanaprabha made his money in retail in Thailand and his King Power duty-free shops are in every airport in the Asian country.
The sound of the helicopter crash could be heard on a BT Sport post-match broadcast and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is said to have witnessed the crash and broke down in tears.
Police and ambulance services were unable to provide any details as to whether there had been any causalities.
Fans were shell-shocked and some broke down in tears as the helicopter plummeted to the ground near the club’s staff car park at around 8.30pm on Saturday, shortly after Leicester’s 1-1 draw with West Ham.
The £2million aircraft which has eight seats was spotted hovering over the south east corner of the ground before spluttering and spiraling to ground, near Filbert Way, and bursting into flames.
BT Sports cameras captured the moments leading up to the helicopter preparing for take-off as presenter Jake Humphreys seemed to confirm Mr Srivaddhanaprabha was on board.
Spectators at the game said they witnessed the helicopter spinning out of control and that there was a problem with the tail rotor of the aircraft. C