French billionaire politician Olivier Dassault was killed yesterday in a helicopter crash, French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Twitter.
According to parliamentary and investigation sources, the private helicopter crashed on Sunday afternoon in Normandy, where he has a holiday home, according to a police source. The pilot was also killed. France’s national air crash investigation agency, the Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety said in a tweet that the crash happened shortly after take-off from “private grounds”. The tweet also said that the crash took place at 5.50 pm local time (around 10.30 pm IST). An involuntary manslaughter investigation has been launched.
“Olivier Dassault loved France. Captain of industry, lawmaker, 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,” Macron said on Twitter.
Dassault, 69, was the eldest son of French billionaire industrialist Serge Dassault, whose group builds the Rafale war planes and owns Le Figaro newspaper.
Dassault was once considered favoured to succeed Serge at the head of the family holding, but that role went to former Dassault Aviation CEO Charles Edelstenne, when Dassault stepped down from his role on the board due to his political role to avoid any conflict of interest. A lawmaker for the conservative Les Republicains party since 2002, Dassault was considered the 361st richest man in the world alongside his two brothers and sister.
During his lifetime, he cultivated a passion for photography and published several books of his photographs. Dassault was also a composer and musician, and contributed scores for several movies in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Dassault is survived by his wife and three children.