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Russia detains airport staff after Total CEO's runway death

© HO/AFP | The wreckage of the Falcon-50 jet

Video by Luke SHRAGO

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-10-23

Russian investigators detained four more staff members Thursday at the Moscow airport where the CEO of French oil giant Total died when his plane collided with a snowplough.

Those detained include an intern air traffic controller, her supervisor, who was in charge of flights at the time, and the heads of the airport's air traffic controllers and runway cleaners.

Investigators had already detained the driver of the snowplough and a court hearing on Thursday was expected to sanction his arrest.

On Thursday, investigators said the 60-year-old Vladimir Martynenko had 0.6g (per litre) of alcohol in his blood, double the Russian drink-driving limit.

Investigators named the detained intern as Svetlana Krivsun. Russian media had reported earlier that the controller in charge of Christophe de Margerie's plane was a trainee.

"The investigation suggests that these people did not respect the norms of flight security and ground operations, which led to the tragedy," the Investigative Committee in charge of the probe said.

At the same time the Vnukovo airport announced the resignations of its general director and his deputy "due to the tragic event". Investigators had earlier accused airport managers of "criminal negligence".

However, neither of the two airport directors who resigned was detained.

Total on Wednesday named new bosses after an emergency meeting in Paris, bringing back Thierry Desmarest –– who was both chairman and chief executive at Total from 1995 to 2007 –– as chairman of the group.

Philippe Pouyanné, who previously headed the refining and chemicals division, was named as chief executive.

In Moscow, French investigators joined a local team to probe the accident, in which three crew members were killed along with de Margerie.

Investigators have begun analysing the jet's black boxes, which record the flight history and conversations in the cockpit.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
 

Date created : 2014-10-23

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