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France’s billionaire politician Olivier Dassault dies in helicopter crash

Olivier Dassault

French billionaire Olivier Dassault, a politician and scion of the Dassault aircraft-making family, was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, according to an AFP report.

The accident happened in the Calvados area of the Normandy region of northwestern France on Sunday afternoon where he has a holiday home near the upmarket coastal resort of Deauville.

Mr Dassault  was the eldest son of billionaire Serge Dassault, whose  Dassault Aviation group has been a leading French plane manufacturer for the last 70 years and is the maker of the Falcon private jet, the Mirage warplane, and most recently the state-of-the art Rafale fighter.

President Emmanuel Macron confirmed the industrialist’s death in a tribute to the 69-year-old legislator on Twitter.

“Olivier Dassault loved France ,” Mr Macron wrote. “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.”

He was considered the 361st richest man in the world alongside his two brothers and sister but stepped down from his role on the board of Dassault to avoid any conflict of interest due to his political role.

Mr Dassault had been a member of the National Assembly for the conservative Les Republicains party since 2002.