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Detained air controller pleads not guilty

October 24, 2014, 13:06 UTC+3
Air controller of Moscow’s Vnukovo airport Alexander Kruglov was detained on suspicion of his involvement in the Falcon jet carsh that killed Total CEO Cristophe de Margerie
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Alexander Kruglov

Alexander Kruglov

© Ilya Pitalev/TASS

MOSCOW, October 24. /TASS/. Air controller of Moscow’s Vnukovo airport Alexander Kruglov, detained on suspicion of his involvement in the Falcon jet carsh that killed Total CEO Cristophe de Margerie, on Friday did not admit his fault.

“I’m not guilty. I accomplished my duty in full,” Kruglov said, adding that he would not disappear and not put pressure on witnesses.

He was on duty on the day when the Falcon jet crashed. The investigators demand Kruglov should be taken into custody till December 21. The airport’s administration requested to release him on bail of $95,580.

One of the lawyers said that earlier Kruglov had helped avert another air crash. “He timely saw the engine fire of a passenger jet and did not allow the take-off. Thus, he saved lives of more than 200 people,” the lawyer said.

Falcon jet crash

During the take-off at Vnukovo on Monday, October 20, at 11:57pm local time, the four-seat Dassault Falcon business jet, en route to Paris, collided with a snowplow, caught fire and fell onto the runway. Among the four people killed in the crash were two pilots, a flight attendant and French oil giant Total CEO Christophe de Margerie. All those killed were French nationals.

On Thursday, October 23, snowplow operator Vladimir Martynenko was arrested. The chief engineer of the airport’s service, Vladimir Ledenev, who was in charge of snow-clearing works, was detained. Flights director Roman Dunayev and trainee air traffic controller Svetlana Krivsun were also detained.

Fatal jet crash investigation

The field stage of the Falcon jet crash investigation was completed on Thursday. A chief investigator with the Interstate Aviation Committee reported the results of the field stage.

The crew of the French Falcon jet that crashed in Moscow's Vnukovo airport on Monday night noticed the snowplow just 14 seconds before takeoff.

A trainee air traffic controller supervised by instructor was guiding Falcon at Vnukovo before crash. All systems of Falcon jet were properly functioning until crash.

The collision of the snowplow and Falcon jet occurred on an intersection of runway strips. The runway strip was free when takeoff authorization was given. Falcon's speed was about 250 km/h when it crashed with the snowplow.

All fragments of the jet have been collected from the crash site. A thorough examination of the fuselage, collected fragments and fuel is still to be conducted in the future.

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