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Snowplow driver involved in Total CEO jet crash detained

October 21, 2014, 14:31 UTC+3

Spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee said investigators will seek a court ruling on his arrest

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© Sergey Savostyanov/TASS

MOSCOW, October 21. /TASS/. The driver of the snowplow that collided with the jet that crashed at a Moscow airport killing all four people on board, has been detained for 48 hours.

"Investigators will seek a court ruling on his arrest," official spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin said on Tuesday.

Investigators earlier reported that the driver was drunk at the time of the accident.

According to preliminary results of the investigation, a four-seat Falcon-300 airplane en route from Moscow to Paris collided at 7.57pm GMT during takeoff at Moscow airport Vnukovo on October 20 with a snow removing machine, caught fire and fell onto the runway. Three crewmembers and France’s oil giant Total CEO Christophe de Margerie died in the jet’s crash.

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French Falcon-50 jet crash at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport © RUPTLY/TASS TV
France sends experts to investigate Moscow jet crash

The French Air Accident Bureau (BEA) has sent its experts to Moscow who will join the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) investigating the circumstances of the death of Total CEO Christophe de Margerie.

A team of three investigators is due to arrive in Russia soon, the Agence France-Presse reported on Tuesday.

The Paris Prosecutor General’s Office has opened a criminal case into “involuntary manslaughter” following the tragic death of the Total CEO.

De Margerie, 63, came to Russia to attend a Russian government meeting on foreign investment in Gorki, near Moscow, on Monday. Total has been conducting active business activities in Russia and is involved in a major Yamal LNG project.

The tragic death of the Total CEO has shocked the whole France. French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls have expressed their condolences over the crash.

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier on Tuesday said Moscow regrets the loss of its “true friend.” Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin highly appreciated de Mergerie's business skills, his commitment to the development of both the Russian-French relations and multifaceted cooperation.

Total is due to hold an emergency meeting in connection with de Margerie’s death. The company’s shares have dropped over 2% on market open after the news.

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