MOSCOW, October 21 (RIA Novosti) - French oil and gas company Total CEO Christophe de Margerie was a larger-than-life character that was respected across the energy industry, energy group Shell CEO Ben van Beurden told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
"I'm extremely sad to hear about the tragic loss of Christophe de Margerie. Christophe was a larger than life character, a leader respected across the energy industry and a friend," Beurden said.
"My thoughts are with his wife and family, and his many thousands of colleagues at Total," he added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Energy Minister Alexander Novak and French President Francois Hollande have also expressed their condolences over de Margerie's death.
The Total chief executive was on board the business jet departing for Paris when it crashed late Monday night in Moscow's Vnukovo-3 Airport after it hit a snowplow during takeoff. De Margerie was the only passenger on board the aircraft, apart from three crew members. No one survived the crash.
Russia's Investigative Committee is investigating the accident, considering traffic control errors, the snowplow driver's actions, poor weather conditions and pilot error as possible causes of the plane crash. The investigators said that the snowplow driver was drunk but the driver's lawyer said his client was sober due to a heart condition preventing him from drinking.