The Premier League is facing calls to ban helicopters from stadiums after the Leicester City Football Club owner and four other people died in a crash at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, two members of his staff, Nusara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and passenger Izabela Roza Lechowicz all died in the tragedy.
The calls for an urgent safety review came after eyewitnesses to the accident said the pilot had averted an even greater tragedy by diverting it away to a remote area of the ground’s car park and away from supporters and staff.
One senior footballing figure, speaking on condition of anonymity, told theDaily Telegraph he would support tougher safety rules suggested by some supporters online in response to reports of people being forced to run for their lives as the helicopter came down.
The AgustaWestland AW109 was seen spiralling towards the ground before crashing in a huge fireball in car park E – the club’s staff car park.
A team from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has recovered the helicopter’s digital flight data recorder. An AAIB spokesman said:
Today, our inspectors in Farnborough will start working on the recorder, which was subject to intense heat as a result of the post-accident fire.
Our inspectors are continuing to work with the police on site. We expect to be here until the end of the week, at which point we will transport the wreckage to our specialist facilities in Farnborough for more detailed examination. In the meantime, we are still gathering evidence as part of our investigation.
Leicester City said in a statement:
It is with the deepest regret and a collective broken heart that we confirm our Chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was among those to have tragically lost their lives on Saturday evening when a helicopter carrying him and four other people crashed outside King Power Stadium. None of the five people on-board survived.
The primary thoughts of everyone at the Club are with the Srivaddhanaprabha family and the families of all those on-board at this time of unspeakable loss.
In Khun Vichai, the world has lost a great man. A man of kindness, of generosity and a man whose life was defined by the love he devoted to his family and those he so successfully led. Leicester City was a family under his leadership. It is as a family that we will grieve his passing and maintain the pursuit of a vision for the Club that is now his legacy.