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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 December, 2003, 17:44 GMT
Millionaire dies in air crash
Paul-Louis Halley in 1996
Paul-Louis Halley's loved-ones are visiting the site of the crash
A millionaire French businessman and his wife died with their Belgian pilot when their plane plunged into a field in Oxfordshire.

Paul-Louis Halley, 69, of the Carrefour supermarket giant, and wife Annick, 63, were killed as the light aircraft flipped and crashed on its back as it tried to land at Oxford Airport in Kidlington.

French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin paid tribute to Mr Halley, saying he was a "brilliant figure in the world of French business".

The single-engine four-seater plane narrowly missed a busy dual-carriageway as it came down at 1120 GMT on Saturday, killing everyone on board.

The plane was
A BBC reporter said the plane was "crushed like cardboard"

Families of the three victims were visiting the crash site on Sunday.

Eyewitnesses said the plane, which was flying in from Brussels in Belgium, appeared to loop before it crashed near the A44.

"The aircraft appeared to be making a fairly normal approach at about two to three hundred yards before the end of the runway," said pilot Mark Coombs, who witnessed the crash.

"It made a level left turn and rolled to the left and then went down, almost spiralling in perpendicularly.

"It looked like it was coming in to land, as if it was almost five seconds away from landing".

A BBC reporter at the scene said the aircraft had been "crushed like cardboard".

Air accident investigators are carrying out an inquiry to try to find out what caused the crash.

Mr Halley co-founded the fashion company Promodes with his father and brother in 1961.

The company merged with Carrefour in 1999 to form the world's second largest supermarket group, of which he was a principal shareholder.

Pilot Jan Frans Walter Brams, 46, from Leuven near Brussels, was also killed.

The BBC's Catherine Riddle
"The aircraft was approaching normally when it appeared to loop back on itself"

Three die in Oxford plane crash
06 Dec 03  |  Oxfordshire

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