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French billionaire MP Olivier Dassault dies in helicopter crash

French billionaire Olivier Dassault, a politician and scion of the Dassault aircraft-making family, was killed in a helicopter crash Sunday, with President Emmanuel Macron paying tribute to a captain of industry who "never stopped serving our country".

Member of Parliament Olivier Dassault (L) and Beauvais mayor Caroline Cayeux visit the Argentine district of Beauvais, north of Paris on March 5, 2021. - French billionaire politician Olivier Dassault, 69-years-old, was killed in a helicopter crash near Touques in northern France, parliamentary and investigation sources told AFP. The Bureau of Investigation and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety said in a tweet that the aircraft, an Aerospatiale AS350 Squirrel, had crashed 'on takeoff', carried out 'from private property'. Ludovic Marin / AFP
Dassault died around 6 pm (1700 GMT) when his aircraft crashed near Deauville in northern France, parliamentary and investigation sources told AFP.

Macron was quick to pay homage to the 69-year-old member of parliament, saying in a tweet that "Olivier  Dassault loved France. Captain of industry, local MP, reserve commander in the air force; throughout his life he never stopped serving our country."

Macron called his death "a great loss" and sent his condolences to Dassault's family.

Sources close to the crash enquiry said the pilot of the helicopter was also killed, and that no one else was on board.

"I am thinking of his family and loved ones who must feel terrible pain," said Richard Ferrand, president of the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament in which Dassault served as a representative for the Oise area of northern France.

Many of Dassault's colleagues on the political right also paid tribute to the son of Serge Dassault and grandson of Marcel Dassault, who built up one of the biggest family fortunes in France.

Topics: Olivier Dassault , Emmanuel Macron , France , Accident
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