Millionaire entrepreneur and Norbrook boss Lord Ballyedmond was one of four people killed in a helicopter crash in Norfolk last night, reports have confirmed.
According to the BBC, a civilian aircraft carrying Lord Ballyedmond and three other people crashed in a field in Gillingham at about 7:30pm. All four on board were killed at the scene, police said.
The accident site is near Gillingham Hall, a stately home owned by the Northern Ireland peer, who was reported to be the richest man in Northern Ireland, with an estimated personal wealth of £500m.
The cause of the crash remains unknown, but witnesses reported dense fog in the area at the time and claim the helicopter came down shortly after take off.
The crash site has been cordoned off and an air accidents investigation team is in attendance.
Lord Ballyedmond (70), also known as Dr Edward Haughey, founded veterinary pharmaceuticals company Norbrook Laboratories in 1969 following his return to Northern Ireland after four years as a pharmaceutical salesman in the US.
Norbrook has since become one of the world’s top pharmaceutical companies, particularly in the field of veterinary medicine, winning three Queen’s Awards for export along the way.
Dr Haughey became Lord Ballyedmond of Mourne when he was made a life peer in 2004 and sat in the House of Lords on behalf of the Ulster Unionist Party before switching to the Conservative Party.
As well as Norbrook Laboratories, Lord Ballyedmond owns Carlisle Airport, Haughey Air Ltd, a 1,000-acre estate in Cumbria, a house on Fitzwilliam Square and a stately pile in County Down, as well as numerous other business interests.