Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was on the helicopter that crashed outside the football club’s King Power Stadium, the BBC has reported.
The incident occurred in the club’s car park, after the Premier League game with West Ham. Police cars and emergency services rushed towards an area where flames were clearly visible before the area was evacuated.
While there was no official statement immediately forthcoming about who was on board, or their condition, the BBC reported a source close to the Srivaddhanaprabha family as saying the club’s 60-year-old chairman was on the helicopter.
However, the news had yet to be confirmed early on Sunday.
One witness said he saw Leicester player Kasper Schmeichel run out of the stadium towards the scene of the crash. The Danish World Cup keeper was reported to be in tears, along with other fans, as he watched the inferno.
It took more than 20 minutes for the flames to be extinguished before emergency services were able to survey the wreckage.
There were unconfirmed reports the accident was a result of a mechanical failure but details were still scarce late on Saturday night.
Srivaddhanaprabha routinely leaves the stadium in his helicopter, which lands in the centre circle on the pitch, after every Leicester home game. It was not yet known who else was in the helicopter.
Leicester Mayor Peter Soulsby tweeted that his thoughts and prayers were “with all – particularly owners who’ve done so much for club and our city”.
Former Leicester City and England striker Gary Lineker signed off on Match of the Day by saying it had been a “dreadful day”.
Several Leicester City players, including striker Jamie Vardy, and West Ham have tweeted since the crash.
Mr Srivaddhanaprabha, a father of four, owns the Thai duty free company King Power. He completed the takeover of Leicester City in the summer of 2010, with the club winning the league title against all odds six years later.
Mr Srivaddhanaprabha is a huge favourite with the fans after the unlikely triumph.
According to Forbes magazine he is the fifth richest person in Thailand with an estimated net worth of $4.9 billion.