French billionaire politician, Olivier Dassault has died in a helicopter crash in north-western France.
The accident occurred on Sunday evening, March 8, in Normandy where he has a holiday home.
The 69-year-old, who was the eldest son of the late French billionaire Serge Dassault, was returning to Paris following a weekend in the English Channel resort of Deauville when his AS350 Squirrel crashed.
The father-of-three, who was heir to the Dassault Aviation fortune, died alongside the helicopter’s pilot.
‘They had just taken off, when the helicopter got into difficulty and came down on private land,’ said an investigating source.
France’s Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis of Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) immediately sent five investigators to the scene to carry out an enquiry.
Local prosecutors and judicial police have launched an enquiry into the tragedy.
French President Emmanuel Macron took to Twitter to pay tribute to a man who ‘never ceased to serve our country’ and ‘value its assets’.
In a tweet, President Macron said: ‘Olivier Dassault loved France. Captain of industry, deputy, local elected official, reserve commander in the air force: during his life, he never ceased to serve our country, to value its assets.
‘His sudden death is a great loss. Thoughts on his family and loved ones.’
At the time of his death, Mr. Dassault’s fortune was thought to exceed the equivalent of €6billion, according to sources in the financial world in Paris.
Mr. Dassault had been an MP for the conservative Republicans party since 2002 and was the 361st richest person in the world alongside his two brothers and sister.
He and his three other siblings later inherited Dassault Aviation, which was founded by Mr Dassault’s grandfather Marcel in 1929.