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Russian state body in charge of air traffic denies responsibility for Total CEO jet crash

October 30, 2014, 20:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Russian State Corporation for Organization of Air Traffic was accused of causing the crash in an interview by head of the board of directors of the airport where the crash took place
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© EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

MOSCOW, October 30 /TASS/. The Russian State Corporation for Organization of Air Traffic has denied responsibility for last week’s Falcon plane crash at Vnukovo airport, the corporation’s press service said on Thursday.

A four-seat Falcon private plane bound for Paris took off from Moscow’s Vnukovo-3 airport just minutes before midnight on October 20. It was already in the air when it collided with a snowplow. The plane went on fire and crashed on the runway. The French Total oil company’s chief executive Christophe de Margerie and the jet’s crew of three died in the crash.

In an interview with the RBK daily, Vitaly Vantsev, the head of the board of directors of the OAO Vnukovo International Airport and the air hub’s co-owner, said that it was the state corporation that was responsible for all the maneuvers on the airfield.

"The Russian State Corporation for Organization of Air Traffic would like to note that a statement made by Vitaly Vantsev in an interview with the RBK newspaper has got nothing to do with reality,” the corporation’s press service went on to say.

Under the Russian aviation legislation, an airport’s chief operator should be responsible for the actions of airfield services. OAO “Airport Vnukovo” is the chief airport operator of the Vnukovo airport,” the Russian State Corporation for Organization of Air Traffic said.

According to reports of the Russian Investigation Committee published in the media, the Vnukovo snowplow driver had 0.06% of alcohol in blood,” the State Corporation said, adding that the head of a shift or the leading engineer, both of whom are airport employees, are supposed to coordinate the work with air traffic controllers.

The Russian Investigation Committee has detained five suspects in connection with the Falcon crash case. They include Vnukovo airfield’s leading engineer Vladimir Ledenev; airport’s flight operations director Roman Dunayev; air traffic controller Alexander Kruglov; trainee traffic controller Svetlana Krivsun and snowplow’s driver Vladimir Martynenko.

Ledenev was responsible for the cleaning works while Dunayev, Krivsun and Kruglov were in charge of air traffic on the crash day.

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