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Preliminary causes of French jet crash in Moscow revealed — report

February 26, 2015, 9:47 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Experts confirm the earlier announced conclusions made by the investigators that the snow plough driver was drunk
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© EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. A technical commission has released the preliminary causes of the French business jet that crashed in Moscow’s Vnukovo airport in mid-October, killing the CEO of oil giant Total, the Kommersant daily reported on Thursday.

Overnight to October 21 the Falcon jet, en route to Paris, collided with a snow plough during takeoff, caught fire and crashed onto the runway at Moscow’s Vnukovo-3 airport. Three crew members and a passenger - Total’s chief executive Christophe de Margerie - died in the crash.

Three suspects in the case have been arrested: an engineer of the airport service, Vladimir Ledenev, air traffic controller Alexander Kruglov and the driver of the snow plough, Vladimir Martynenko.

Two other suspects - airport’s flight operations director Roman Dunayev and trainee traffic controller Svetlana Krivsun - are currently under house arrest.

In their report, seen by Kommersant, the experts confirm the earlier announced conclusions made by the investigators that the snow plough driver was drunk. Ledenev, who was responsible for the cleaning works, was also drunk, according to the newspaper.

The experts found that while on the runway, the drunk driver "became disoriented" and was at a loss. Ledenev did not even try to find the lost snow plough or report about the incident to the air traffic controller.

The Falcon crew saw the snow plough but despite the efforts they could not stop the jet as the speed was already too high.

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