Four staff members of Moscow's Vnukovo International Airport were detained on suspicion of their duties' negligence in regard to the Falcon-300 private jet crash, in which four French nationals were killed late on Monday night, TASS reported referring to Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee.
During the takeoff at Moscow airport Vnukovo on Monday at 23:57 local time (7.57pm GMT), the four-seat Dassault Falcon business jet, en route to Paris, collided with a snowplow, caught fire and fell onto the runway. Among the four people killed in the crash are two pilots, a flight attendant and French oil giant Total CEO Christophe de Margerie. All killed in the crash were French nationals.
"They have been detained and questioned as suspects in the case," Markin said. "According to investigators, the detained persons failed to provide safety requirements concerning flights and on-ground works and it led to the tragedy".
The detained are chief engineer of the airport's service Vladimir Ledenev, who was in charge of snow-clearing works at the time of the incident, flights director Roman Dunayev, intern air traffic controller Svetlana Krivsun and airport's chief air traffic controller Alexander Kruglov, who was in charge of the air traffic at the time of the tragic crash.
Vladimir Martynenko, the operator of the snowplow that caused the crash, was also earlier detained for the period of 48 hours. According to media reports, Martynenko, who emerged unhurt from the incident, was reportedly under alcoholic influence, while he himself acknowledged that he had a cup of coffee with cognac in it before his shift.
A criminal case has been opened in Russia into the violation of traffic safety and operation of the plane. Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika personally oversees the investigation.