Pilot ‘guided helicopter away from people’ before Leicester FC crash

Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha (third right, holding out hand) getting into a helicopter after a match at the King Power Stadium. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha (third right, holding out hand) getting into a helicopter after a match at the King Power Stadium. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire
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A cameraman who witnessed the Leicester City FC’s owner’s helicopter crash outside the stadium said the pilot guided the aircraft away from people on the ground.

Having just recorded post-match interviews inside the stadium, Sky Sports News cameraman Dan Cox was walking across the car park as the helicopter came overhead.

Two crew members and three passengers, including club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, were thought to have been on board.

Mr Cox said: “I heard the ­helicopter coming out of the stadium … and then I just carried on walking thinking next time I look up it is going to be overhead.

“I looked up and it was just spinning, static, just out of control, just a constant spinning, I have never seen anything like it.”

He added: “I don’t know how the pilot did it but he seemed to manage to slow down the spinning rotation and it drifted off into the corner part of the car park.”

As the cameraman began filming the aftermath of the crash, two police officers desperately tried to get close to the wreckage to help but were beaten back by the flames.

Mr Cox said: “To my mind the pilot was heroic and the two police officers in front of me, who also tried to help, they are heroes too. It could have been so much worse if the pilot hadn’t done that.”

The air accident watchdog has launched an investigation.

Shocked fans gathered at the King Power Stadium yesterday to lay flowers. The incident happened a few hours after Leicester drew 1-1 with West Ham.

Witnesses said the helicopter seemed to spiral out of control moments after it set off from the stadium at about 8:30pm on Saturday and plummeted into the car park. The club’s owner is known for arriving and leaving the stadium in his helicopter at home games.

The tragedy was described as the “darkest day” in the club’s history, with people laying flowers in tribute yesterday.

Former England and Leicester manager Sven-Goran Eriksson hailed “very, very generous” Mr Srivaddhanaprabha and the “incredible” impact he has had on the club.

Mr Eriksson was the first manager to be hired by the Thai billionaire after he took charge of the club in 2010. He said: “I knew the whole family … When you know him, as I did, you knew he’s a very, very generous man – to the players, the staff and people working for him – with the fans and the community. He’s an extremely generous man.”

Messages from Leicester fans on the flowers included “In our thoughts!!” and “Thank you xx”. One fan left a card of a fox with their flowers which read: “Thinking of you all.”