MOSCOW, July 28. /TASS/. Snowplough driver Vladimir Martynenko and aerodrome engineer Vladimir Ledenyov have pleaded guilty in the case of the 2014 Falcon jet crash at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport that killed four persons, including France’s oil company Total CEO Christophe de Margerie.
The defendants pleaded guilty on Thursday at Moscow’s Solntsevsky Court, which is examining the merits of the criminal case.
The persons in the defendants’ dock include Vnukovo aerodrome engineer Ledenyov, driver of the snowplough that collided with the Falcon jet Martynenko, flight controller Alexander Kruglov, Vnukovo air traffic control head Roman Dunayev and taxiing controller Nadezhda Arkhipova. They are pressed with charges under part 3, article 263 of the Criminal Code of Russia ("Violation of Air Transport Safety and Operation Rules Entailing the Deaths of Two or More Persons by Negligence"). The article carries a punishment of up to 7 years in prison.
The prosecutor announced his indictment in the court on Thursday, following which the counsel for the defense and the defendants expressed their attitude to it.
"With regard to the charges presented, I admit the guilt," Ledenyov said.
The other three suspects pleaded not guilty.
According to investigators, a snowplough driven by Martrynenko entered a runway at Vnukovo airport on October 20, 2014 due to a lack of proper coordination between the air traffic control and aerodrome maintenance services that was to be ensured by flight operations director Dunayev, due to negligence of air traffic controllers Arkhipova and Kruglov, as well as because engineer Ledenyov lost control over his subordinates.
As a result, the snowplough collided with the French Falcon 50EX jet that caught fire and crashed on the runway, killing all the three crewmembers and Total CEO Christophe de Margerie.