Moment billionaire’s helicopter crashes
HORRIFYING CCTV has captured the moment Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's helicopter spirals out of control, killing him and four others.
The Leicester City football club owner was killed instantly when the chopper came down in a car park behind the King Power Stadium after a Premier League game between the Foxes and West Ham on Saturday.
Footage has since captured the horrific final moments before the helicopter crashed - bursting into a fireball, The Sun reported.
The chopper can be seen taking off from the stadium, flying just 200m before it suddenly appears to spin out of control.
It then plummets to the ground in a dead man's curve - killing the billionaire, his assistant Kaveporn Punpare and former Thai beauty queen Nursara Suknamai.
Hero pilot Eric Swaffer was also killed as well as his co-pilot girlfriend Izabela Roza Lechowicz.
Shocked witnesses revealed how they saw the helicopter plummet to the ground with Jo White, from Leicester, saying: "We were walking back to the car and we heard the helicopter lift off.
"We heard the noise and then it just went silent.
"It was the silence that made us look back.
"It was spinning and going up and down and around and round.
"We thought the pilot was messing about or doing an emergency drill.
"Then it just dropped. There was no noise. It was an eerie silence."
She added: "We couldn't hear or smell anything, we just saw the smoke billowing over.
"It was surreal."
Witnesses recalled seeing the officer run straight towards the helicopter, leaving his colleague standing beside their police car.
Vichai, 60, bought the club for £39 million ($A70.74 million) in 2010 and led it to a first Premier League title in 2015-16 despite odds of 5,000-1.
The tragedy is being described as the "darkest day" in the club's history, and mourners and players today flocked to leave floral tributes and football shirts in memory of those killed on-board.
The Air Accident Investigation Branch confirmed today they had recovered the helicopter's black box from the wreckage as they search for clues around just what happened in the seconds before the crash.
A spokesperson said: "We have inspectors here from all four air accident investigation disciplines: engineering, operations, flight data and human factors.
"We recovered the digital flight data recorder (voice and data) on Sunday afternoon and one of our inspectors travelled back to Farnborough with the recorder the same evening.
"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."
As the investigation into the tragedy continues, Leicestershire Police today responded to speculation the helicopter had collided with a drone from the force.
The force was questioned over when the drone was in use on Twitter, replying: "Yes we do deploy a drone for public safety purposes on some match days.
"However, we have confirmed that the drone was not in flight at the time the helicopter left the stadium on Saturday evening."
Pilot Eric Swaffer was praised as a hero after the crash, with the pilot believed to have steered the helicopter away from crowds as it hurtled to the ground.
Sky Sports cameraman Dan Cox was horrified to see the helicopter "spinning out of control" moments after hearing the take-off.
Cox told Sky News: "I heard the helicopter coming out of the stadium, saw it as you do, they are amazing pieces of machinery and then I just carried on walking thinking next time I look up it is going to be overhead.
"The next thing I just looked up and it was just spinning, static just out of control, just a constant spinning, I have never seen anything like it."
He continued: "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.
"To my mind the pilot was heroic and the two police offers 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."
Bouquets, flags and football shirts have been left outside the ground by members of the public on alongside a large image of the Hindu god Ganesh which was also propped up amid the flowers.
Prince William was among those paying tribute to the club boss - saying he was "lucky" to know Vichai.
Tributes have also flooded in from the footballing world with Leicester referring to their chairman as a "great man".
The club said: "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."
Another witness Richard Mobbs, said he had known Vichai - and had been waiting outside to get autographs when he saw goalkeeper Kaspar Schmeichel run out to the scene.
Schmeichel was seen in tears moments after running out of the King Power stadium to witness the devastating scenes.
Richard said: "I just stood there and burst into tears. I was glad I was here.
"I went into the reception and I was bawling my eyes out. They gave me a drink, hugged me and looked after me.
"We stayed here until midnight.
"It's a loss for everyone here, but for me it's a personal loss.
"He was a lovely and unassuming man. He was generous with the club and the city.
"It's just so sad."
Kasper Schmeichel penned a deeply poignant and emotional address to Srivaddhanaprabha after the news of his death was confirmed on Sunday night.
He wrote: "Dear Mr Chairman. I cannot believe this is happening. I am so totally devastated and heartbroken. I just cannot believe what I saw last night. It just doesn't seem real!"
He added: "Never have I ever come across a man like you. So hard working, so dedicated, so passionate, so kind and so generous in the extreme. You had time for everyone.
"You touched everyone. It didn't matter who it was, you had time for them. I always admired you as a leader, as a father and as a man."
This story originally appeared in The Sun and has been published here with permission.