TBM crash kills French billionaire

 - January 29, 2007, 11:18 AM

French supermarket tycoon Paul-Louis Halley, who had amassed a personal fortune estimated at $3.75 billion and was listed by Forbes as the 104th richest man in the world, died along with his wife and their pilot in the crash of a Socata TBM 700 (N30LT) at Oxford (Kidlington) Airport (EGTK), UK, on December 6. Inbound from Brussels Airport (EBBR), Belgium, the pilot was conducting an NDB/DME approach to Runway 01 at EGTK. According to witnesses, at less than half a mile from touchdown the TBM 700 dropped a wing and descended until it hit the ground. There was no post-crash fire, though all aboard the six-seat turboprop single were killed on impact. According to the witnesses, weather did not appear to be a factor.

That accident came just six weeks after another TBM 700 (N700VA) ditched in the River Tay after making an approach to Dundee (EGPN) Airport in Scotland at the end of a flight from London Biggin Hill (EGKB). According to an airport official, after a visual approach to Runway 28 the pilot attempted a go-around, but the aircraft did not climb away and the left wing dropped before the airplane descended into the river. The four occupants were recovered by the airport’s rescue hovercraft, uninjured, but suffering from hypothermia. Both accidents are under investigation by the Air Accident Investigation Branch of the UK Department of Transport.