Criminal negligence caused Total chief's death, investigators say

Investigators blamed the operator of a snowplow that the plane struck.

Ed Adamczyk

MOSCOW, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- A Moscow airport accident that killed Total S.A. chief executive Christophe de Margerie was blamed on criminal negligence, Russian investigators said Tuesday.

The chief of the French oil and gas company, the fifth-largest in the world, died with three crew members aboard a corporate jet when it struck an airport snowplow while taking off Tuesday. The snowplow operator was drunk, investigators said.


"It is already obvious that the cause of the events was not at all a horrific tragic confluence of circumstances, which is how representatives of the airport are trying to present it, but criminal negligence by officials who could not ensure the coordinated actions of airport employees," said Investigations Committee of Russia spokesman Vladimir Markin.

The committee reports directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who sent a statement of condolence to the French government.

Total is working with Russian gas producer Novatek in a number of liquefied gas projects in Russia. De Margerie, 63, and Putin had a close working relationship, said Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Latest Headlines