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Putin expresses condolences over Total CEO death in plane crash

October 21, 2014, 11:10 UTC+3 MOSCOW MOSCOW October, 21. /TASS

The president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said Putin knew Total CEO who died in the crash and maintained close working contacts with him

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Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, October 21. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed deep condolences over the tragic death of France’s oil giant Total CEO Christophe de Margerie in the plane crash.

The president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said Putin knew de Margerie and had maintained close working contacts with him. The president highly valued de Margerie’s business qualities and his consistent commitment to the development of Russian-French relations and mutually beneficial cooperation on the whole, Peskov said.

Moscow also highly valued Margerie’s contribution to the development of the cultural dialogue and his support for various cultural projects, the press secretary said.

The Total chief enjoyed high respect among business people and politicians who named him as ‘big moustache’ in a friendly manner. Learning about the fatal incident French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that the country had lost a remarkable businessman, a great captain of the industry and a patriot.

Christophe de Margerie has left three children after his death.

Business aviation Dassault Falcon’s jet crashed at Moscow airport Vnukovo late on Monday evening, leaving four people on board dead.

The jet was taking off amid a visibility of 350 metres, Vnukovo airport said. “During taxi the airplane has collided at 7.57pm GMT on Monday with a snow-cleaning machine of the airport’s service,” the airport said at its website. The airplane burnt down to ashes and no people were saved, though search-and-rescue airport’s service was put on alert, starting immediately fighting the fire.

The jet was carrying three French crewmembers and Total CEO Christophe de Margerie. The snow removal machine driver was not hurt in the air crash.

Detectives and the Interstate Aviation Committee special penal involving Russian aviation specialists are investigating why the snow removing machine happened to be on the runway. Criminal proceedings were opened for violation of flight safety rules and aircraft steering rules that entailed the death of two and more people through negligence.

Detectives are probing a possible error of flight controllers and snow removal machine driver’s action as main theories behind the air crash. Foil weather and piloting errors will be also investigated. “Detectives have already found that the driver of the snow-cleaning machine was drunk. Meanwhile, this will be probably decided to suspend several airport’s employees from work during the investigation of the criminal case,” spokesman of Russian Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin told TASS.

Christophe de Margerie was on a service mission in Moscow and participated in an annual meeting of the Advisory Council on Foreign Investment in Russia on Monday.

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