Update: Authorities confirmed on Sunday that Srivaddhanaprabha was among five people who were killed in the tragic crash. This story has been updated to reflect the newest information.
Multiple British outlets including the BBC are reporting that a helicopter owned by Leicester City soccer team owner and prominent Thai businessman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha has crashed outside the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England. The club has confirmed that Srivaddhanaprabha and four other individuals were killed in the crash.
What do we know so far?
The helicopter took off from the King Power Stadium pitch, as was customary after most of the team's home games. Leicester City's soccer team had finished playing fellow Premier League team West Ham about an hour before the helicopter took off. Witnesses told the BBC that the helicopter cleared the stadium, then began to experience apparent engine trouble. BBC soccer commentator Ian Stringer said that after the helicopter cleared the stadium, it started "spiraling."
After that, according to other eyewitnesses, the helicopter "dropped like a stone" out of the sky. Multiple witnesses stated that the helicopter was engulfed in a large fireball as it crashed.
According to the Mirror, Leicester City issued a statement saying, "
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."
After the club confirmed on Sunday that its owner had indeed died in the crash, it issued a lengthier statement on Twitter.
https://t.co/hQSR0IDWWg— Leicester City (@Leicester City) 1540764009.0
What don't we know?
As of Saturday, neither the club nor authorities had confirmed that Srivaddhanaprabha was aboard the aircraft when it crashed, nor whether there were any fatalities in the crash. However, the club has since confirmed that Srivaddhanaprabha and four others were killed.
The cause of the crash remains unknown, although witness accounts strongly suggest an engine malfunction of some sort, rather than a terrorist incident.
Who is Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha?
Srivaddhanaprabha made a fortune as the owner and founder of the King Power chain of duty free shops. According to a Forbes profile, Srivaddhanaprabha is worth around $5 billion, making him the 5th richest person in Thailand and one of the richest 500 people in the world.
Srivaddhanaprabha purchased the Leicester City soccer team in 2010. Under his ownership and management, Leicester City won the Premier League title in 2015-16 despite being astounding 5000:1 long shots to win the title at the beginning of the season. This was the first Premier League championship and first UEFA Champions League berth in team history. He also owns the OH Leuven soccer team in Belgium. He is married and has four children.
This is a developing story and will be updated as events warrant.