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Radio contact with snowplough lost before fatal collision with Falcon — investigation

October 24, 2014, 14:23 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The court is considering investigators’ request for remanding in custody the chief engineer of the Vnukovo airport’s airfield service, Vladimir Ledenyov, who was in charge of snow clearing work
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© Sergey Savostyanov/TASS

MOSCOW, October 24. /TASS/. Before the collision with the Falcon business jet at Moscow’s Vnukovo-3 airport early this week, the snowplough lost radio contact with the engineer service. This left little or no chance of preventing the disaster, as follows from the findings of the investigation presented to a Moscow court on Friday.

As the court considered the request for remanding in custody the chief engineer of the Vnukovo airport’s airfield service, Vladimir Ledenyov, the investigator said that the engineering service failed to prevent the collision due to a disruption of radio contact. “Ledenyov permitted the snowplough, with driver Vladimir Martynenko at the wheel, to roll onto the airfield without an escort and when the radio contact was lost, he was unable to order the vehicle back, but at the same time failed to warn the control tower,” the investigator said.

Earlier, the same court had put in custody the snow plough’s driver.

The court is considering investigators’ request for remanding in custody the chief engineer of the Vnukovo airport’s airfield service, Vladimir Ledenyov, who was in charge of snow clearing work, and also Vnukovo’s flights director Roman Dunayev, trainee traffic controller Svetlana Krivsun and flight controller Alexander Kruglov, who was in charge of the air traffic at the moment of the disaster.

Overnight to October 21, a Falcon business jet en route from Moscow’s Vnukovo airport to Paris hit a snowplough during takeoff, caught fire and crashed on the runway, killing three crew and one passenger — CEO of the French oil major Total Christophe de Margerie. The Russian authorities have opened a criminal case on charges of abuse of air traffic and aircraft operation safety rules that caused the negligent death of two or more persons.

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