World

Total CEO joins sad toll of famous plane crash victims, from Buddy Holly to Missoni

  • FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 file photo originally released by Venezuela's General Prosecutor Office, the wreckage of a small plane that crashed in January, which was carrying Vittorio Missoni and five other people, on the deck of a rescue boat near Los Roques, Venezuela. 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. (AP Photo, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 file photo originally released by Venezuela's General Prosecutor Office, the wreckage of a small plane that crashed in January, which was carrying Vittorio Missoni and five other people, on the deck of a rescue boat near Los Roques, Venezuela. 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. (AP Photo, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 26, 1999 file photo, a crew of workers supervised by the National Transportation Safety Board place flags among the wreckage of a private jet transporting Payne Stewart in a farm field near Mina, South Dakota. 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. (AP Photo/Dave Weaver, File)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 26, 1999 file photo, a crew of workers supervised by the National Transportation Safety Board place flags among the wreckage of a private jet transporting Payne Stewart in a farm field near Mina, South Dakota. 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. (AP Photo/Dave Weaver, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Sunday, April 11, 2010 file photo, Russian investigators work near the wreckage of the Polish presidential plane, that crashed just outside Smolensk airport, western Russia. 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. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, File)

    FILE - In this Sunday, April 11, 2010 file photo, Russian investigators work near the wreckage of the Polish presidential plane, that crashed just outside Smolensk airport, western Russia. 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. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, File)  (The Associated Press)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.