The driver of a snowplough which collided with a corporate jet at a Moscow airport, killing the boss of French oil giant Total, was drunk, Russian investigators said today.
Christophe de Margerie’s corporate jet, which was taking off for France, collided with a snow removal machine at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport.
Total “confirms with deep regret and sadness” that chairman and CEO Mr de Margerie died in the crash, the company said on its website.
Airport officials told Russia’s Tass news agency that the collision happened at 11.57pm yesterday local time (8.57pm BST), killing Mr de Margerie, 63, and three crew members, all French citizens.
“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 three other victims,” the company said.
A representative of the transport investigative department said the French-made Dassault Falcon 50 business jet collided with the snow machine during take-off. The driver was unhurt.
Visibility at the time of the crash was 350 meters - 1,150 feet - the airport said.
Mr de Margerie, known as “Mr Moustache” for his bushy facial hair, rose through the ranks at Total to become CEO in 2007 and added the post of chairman in 2010.
He joined Total after graduating from the Ecole Superieure de Commerce in 1974, according to the company website, and held several positions in the Finance Department and Exploration & Production division before becoming president of Total Middle East in 1995. He became a member of Total’s policy-making executive committee in 1999.
Paris-based Total is the fifth-largest publicly-traded integrated international oil and gas company in the world, with exploration and production operations in more than 50 countries.
Russia’s main investigative agency said today that the snowplough driver was under the influence of alcohol.