Russia airline co-owner dies in plane crash

Natalia Fileva, one of Russia's richest women and co-owner of S7 airlines, dies after jet crashes in Germany.

    Russia airline co-owner dies in plane crash
    German aviation authorities said they were probing the cause of the crash [Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters]

    One of Russia's richest women and the co-owner of the country's second-biggest airline died Sunday in a plane crash in Germany, the airline operator said.

    Natalia Fileva, co-owner of S7 - also known as Siberian Airlines, was aboard a single-engine, six-seat Epic LT aircraft that crashed and burned in a field as it approached the small airport at Egelsbach, a town in southwestern Germany, at about 3:30pm (13:30 GMT), the airline said.

    German police said there appeared to be three people aboard the plane, including the pilot of the flight, which originated in France. They said the two passengers were believed to be Russian citizens but that positive identification of the occupants would require further investigation.

    Natalia Fileva co-owned Russia's second-biggest airline [Reuters]

    German aviation authorities were probing the cause of the crash. Egelsbach is about 10km south of Frankfurt.

    The business publication Forbes.ru estimated Fileva's fortune at $600m.

    "S7 Group team extends sincere and heartfelt condolences to Mrs Fileva's family and loved ones," the company said in a statement.

    "The memory of her as an inspiring and sympathetic leader and a wonderful person will forever stay in the hearts of all S7 Group employees. It is an irreparable loss. "

    With a base at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport, S7 is part of the Oneworld alliance and flies to 150 destinations in 35 countries.

    Fileva's husband, Vladislav Filev, is listed as chair of the company's board of directors, according to the company's third-quarter 2018 financial statement on its website.

    Two other people died in a traffic collision related to the plane crash. The DPA news agency, citing police, reported that a police vehicle that was responding to the plane crash was struck head-on by another vehicle. Three police officers were seriously hurt, while both occupants of the other car died.

    SOURCE: News agencies