Oil CEO in sad toll of famed plane crash victims

AP News
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Posted: Oct 21, 2014 3:40 PM
Oil CEO in sad toll of famed plane crash victims

PARIS (AP) — Christophe de Margerie, the charismatic CEO of Total SA whose silver handlebar earned him the nickname "Big Mustache," died late Monday at a Moscow airport when his private jet collided with a snowplow whose driver was drunk, according to Russian investigators.

De Margerie, who expanded Total into one of the world's largest multinational companies, was among many renowned people whose lives have ended in a plane crash. Here's a look at some others:

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VITTORIO MISSONI

The CEO of the Italian fashion house that bears his name disappeared along with five other people in the waters off Venezuela in January 2013. A month later, two pieces of luggage from the plane washed up on a tiny island. His body has never been found.

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JENNI RIVERA

Latin music superstar Jenni Rivera, known as the "Diva de la Banda," died in a plane crash in northern Mexico on Dec. 8, 2012 following a concert. The tragedy also killed six others.

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LECH KACZYNSKI

A plane carrying the Polish president crashed in heavy fog on approach to the military airport in Smolensk, Russia, killing him and 95 others on board in 2010. A report the following year blamed the crash on human error coupled with bad weather and airport conditions.

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SEN. TED STEVENS

The Alaska Republican had already survived a 1978 Learjet crash that killed his first wife and four others. In August 2010, he was among five to die when a float plane crashed en route to a fishing lodge in Alaska.

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STEVE FOSSETT

The billionaire entrepreneur was on 63 — the same age as de Margerie — when he disappeared in September 2007 while on a solo flight from a Nevada ranch. A hiker found items belonging to him nearly a year later in a remote part of the Sierra Nevada mountains. He apparently struck a mountainside head-on and died instantly.

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AALIYAH

Actress and R&B singer Aaliyah was killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas along with eight others. The twin-engine Cessna went down shortly after takeoff on Aug. 25, 2001.

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PAYNE STEWART

A Learjet carrying the pro golfer and five others in 1999 lost cabin pressure and flew for several hours on autopilot long after everyone on board had lost consciousness and died for lack of oxygen. The plane eventually crashed into a corn field in northeastern South Dakota.

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JFK JR. and CAROLYN BESSETTE KENNEDY

Known to many in America simply as "John John," he was the assassinated president's son and half of a glamor couple who were regularly on magazine covers. In July 1999, he was at the helm of a small plane, flying his wife and sister to Martha's Vineyard when the plane crashed into the Atlantic, killing all three.

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JOHN DENVER

The country singer had recently bought the light aircraft and was piloting above California's Monterey Bay when it crashed in October 1997. Investigators blamed low fuel, a hard-to-reach handle to switch gas tanks and modifications to the experimental plane.

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RITCHIE VALENS, BUDDY HOLLY and the BIG BOPPER

It was later called "The Day the Music Died." The three young singers were in a single-engine aircraft flying in a light snowstorm in 1959 when the pilot apparently lost control. The plane crashed outside Clear Lake, Iowa. Holly had decided to fly because his tour bus was having heating problems.