Police search for survivors as helicopter carrying chateau owners crashes into Dordogne
- Friday 20 December 2013
The helicopter crash involved both the old and new owners of Chateau de la Riviere in Fronsac (pictured)
Police divers are tonight looking for survivors, but the expectation is that all four passengers on-board the helicopter have lost their lives.
James Gregoire, owner of La Riviere since 2003 as well as the creator of the Oxoline barrel stacking system and founder of the Gregoire harvesting machine company, was also in the helicopter when it crashed.
He signed on the sale of the property yesterday to a Chinese businessman, in a deal reportedly worth €30 million – the largest to date in Bordeaux.
Although details are not yet clear, the helicopter is believe to have been piloted by Gregoire himself, as he was an experienced pilot and owned the aircraft.
Sources close to the events told decanter.com that the crash happened in the Dordogne river as the helicopter was returning to La Riviere, and was just a few minutes away from landing.
Lam Kok, La Riviere’s new owner from the Pu’er region of China was a passenger in the helicopter.
Kok’s 12 year old son and a Chinese interpreter resident in Bordeaux, Wang Peng, a professor at a business school in the city and a winemaker himself, were also on board.
Kok’s home town was twinned with Libourne, and as a maker of luxury teas through his company Brillant, he was present for the signing ceremony for the twinning of the two cities held during Vinexpo this summer.
Kok was also a high-end hotelier, and had plans to convert the 17th century Chateau la Riviere, one of the most beautiful in the Fronsac appellation, into a luxury hotel.
The helicopter went down at around 7.30pm local time. No official cause for the crash has yet been given, and no casualties officially confirmed.