PARIS – Christophe de Margerie, the charismatic CEO of Total SA whose silver handlebar earned him the nickname "Big Mustache," died late Monday 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.