CEO of French oil giant Total killed in Moscow plane crash



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14/10/29  Moscow - The CEO of French oil company Total, Christophe de Margerie died in a plane crash at a Moscow airport after his private jet struck a snow plough on takeoff. "The Total Group confirms with great and profound sadness that its CEO Christophe de Margerie died last night shortly after 10pm (Paris time) in an air crash at Vnukovo airport in Moscow following a collision with a snow removing machine," Total said in a statement. Just hours earlier De Margerie had met Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at his country residence outside Moscow to discuss foreign investment in Russia. The Vnukovo airport said in a statement that the Falcon Dassault business aviation jet crashed as it prepared to take off for Paris with one passenger and three crew on board. "During run-up at 11:57 pm, there was a collision with the airport s snow plough. As a result of the crash, the passenger and all the crew members died," the airport s statement said.

The airport said that visibility was at 350 metres at the time of the accident. Moscow saw its first snowfall of the winter on Monday. The airport said its rescue services were sent to the scene and "immediately started extinguishing a fire that had broken out". TASS news agency also said four people had died.

"There was one passenger registered on the plane, French citizen Christophe de Margerie. The three crew members were also French citizens. They all died," the TASS news agency cited an aviation source as saying. A spokeswoman for transport investigators, Tatyana Morozova, told Interfax that three men and a 39-year-old woman died. The crash is being investigated by the Interstate Aviation Committee, which probes all Russian air crashes, and experts from Russia s federal aviation agency, the airport said. The head of the federal aviation agency, Alexander Neradko, has taken charge of the investigation.