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French aviation industrialist Olivier Dassault killed in helicopter crash

The French national air accident investigation agency, the BEA, said the Airbus AS350 helicopter crashed just after takeoff from a private airfield.
AP |
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 03:02 PM IST
FILE PHOTO: French deputy Olivier Dassault attends the questions to the government session at the National Assembly in Paris, France, November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo(REUTERS)

A French billionaire aviation industrialist and member of parliament has died in a helicopter crash along with the pilot, authorities said.

Olivier Dassault, 69, was heir to a powerful family business empire that made Falcon private jets and Rafale fighter planes and owned many other businesses including Le Figaro newspaper.

A judicial inquiry for eventual manslaughter charges is underway after Sunday's crash in the town of Touques in Normandy, according to the regional prosecutor's office in Lisieux.

The French national air accident investigation agency, the BEA, said the Airbus AS350 helicopter crashed just after takeoff from a private airfield. BEA investigators were travelling to the site on Monday.

Forbes magazine listed Olivier Dassault as one of the world's top 500 richest people in 2020. He held executive positions at the family-owned Dassault Group as well as serving in the lower house of parliament as a lawmaker from the conservative Republicans party since 2002.

President Emmanuel Macron paid homage in a tweet to a “captain of industry, parliament member, local elected leader, air force reserve officer" and said "his brutal death is a great loss.”

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