Updated 2:42 p.m. Moscow Time
MOSCOW, October 24 (RIA Novosti) – The Basmanny Court in Moscow has placed an air traffic controller under arrest until December 21 on the suspicion of his involvement into the fatal crash of the French oil giant CEO’s plane earlier this week.
Judge Valentina Levashova agreed with prosecutors that the accused dispatcher, Alexander Kruglov, could disappear, destroy evidence, threaten witnesses, and cohort with coworkers, which would hamper investigations.
Total CEO Christophe de Margerie died in the crash of a Falcon 50 business jet late Monday night at Vnukovo-3 Airport. The incident happened when the aircraft, which was to fly to Paris, hit a snow removal vehicle when taking off. De Margerie was the only passenger on board along with three crew members, also French citizens. The crew also died in the crash.
The four suspects in the case included a senior airport engineer responsible for snow removal, an air traffic controller trainee and her supervisor, as well as Kruglov who was on duty at the time of the tragedy.
The driver of the snowplow was detained within 48 hours of the accident and accused of being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, but he denied the allegations. His lawyer said the driver did not drink alcohol at all due to heart problems. Russia's Investigative Committee said that the snowplow's presence on the runway was not authorized.
On Thursday, Vnukovo International Airport press service said that the airport's general director, Andrei Dyakov, and deputy general director, Sergei Solntsev, resigned after the accident, with some other managerial staff being dismissed.