21 October 2014, News Wires – French oil giant Total has confirmed its chief executive and chairman Christophe de Margerie has been killed in a plane crash in Russia.
“Five people were found dead at the scene of the accident, including three crew members, the driver of the snow removal machine and Christophe de Margerie,” Total said in a statement.
“The thoughts of the management and employees of the group go out to Christophe de Margerie’s wife, children and loved ones as well as to the families of the four other victims.”
Reports had earlier emerged the Total chief was killed along with three crew members when the Falcon 50 business jet he was travelling in crashed at Vnukovo airport in Moscow.
Vnukovo airport spokeswoman Elena Krylova confirmed the incident prior to Total’s statement.
“Tonight, a plane crashed when it collided with a snow-clearing machine,” she told Reuters.
“Three crew members and a passenger died. I can confirm that the passenger was Total’s head de Margerie.”
According to reports, the Paris-bound jet struck a snow plough with its landing gear during takeoff and the pilot made the decision to turn back and land, reporting an engine fire and fuselage damage.
LifeNews reported the plane crashed on the runway and was engulfed in flames, killing everyone on board.
De Margerie joined Total in 1974 and held several positions before becoming president of Total’s Middle East operations in 1995 and the head of the company’s exploration and production division in 2002.
The 63-year old was appointed to the company’s board in 2006 and has served as Total’s chief executive since 2007 and was elected as chairman in 2010.