Billionaire Missing in Chopper Crash

Lam Kok was touring French vineyard he had just bought

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 21, 2013 6:30 PM CST

(Newser) – After a Chinese billionaire sealed the deal on a vineyard purchase, its previous owner took him for a helicopter tour—and the vehicle crashed. Now, Lam Kok is feared dead, the BBC reports. His 12-year-old son's body was retrieved from the wreckage, Sky News reports, but the other three on board—Lam Kok, previous estate owner James Gregoire, and an interpreter—are all missing. Gregoire was flying the helicopter. A massive search effort, including more than 100 police officers, will continue Sunday.

Lam Kok's wife decided not to join the rest on the flight because she was "scared of helicopters," according to an AFP photographer. Chinese investors have bought dozens of chateaux in France in recent years, but the sale of the 160-acre Chateau de la Riviere estate was thought to be the biggest such purchase, the BBC notes. It was worth an estimated $41 million, per Sky. Lam Kok intended to establish a tea- and wine-tasting center at the site.

A Chinese billionaire is missing after a helicopter crash in France.
A Chinese billionaire is missing after a helicopter crash in France.   (Shutterstock)
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