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The chief executive of French oil major Total, Christophe de Margerie, was killed when a business jet collided with a snow plough during takeoff at Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport, the company and airport officials said. The collision occurred late on Monday, just minutes before midnight Moscow time, the airport said in a statement. The Dassault Falcon business jet carrying de Margerie had been due to travel to Paris.
‘Total confirms with deep regret and great sadness that Chairman and CEO Christophe de Margerie died just after 10 p.m. (Paris time) on October 20 in a private plane crash at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, following a collision with a snow removal machine,’ the company said in a statement. The plane’s three crew also died, said Total, France’s second-biggest listed company with a market value of 102 billion euros.
There was no immediate word on the cause of the collision. Visibility was 350 metres (1,150 feet) at the time, the airport said, adding that civil aviation authorities had launched an investigation. Vnukovo is Moscow’s oldest and third biggest airport. Located southwest of the capital, it is used by President Vladimir Putin and other government officials.
De Margerie, 63, was on a list of attendees at a Russian government meeting on foreign investment in Gorki, near Moscow, on Monday. With his distinctive bushy moustache and outspoken manner, he was one of the most recognizable figures among the world’s top oil executives.
“France is losing an extraordinary business leader who turned Total into a world giant,’ French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said in a statement. France is losing a great industry captain and a patriot”.(Source: Reuters)