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Investigators Say ‘Criminal Negligence’ of Airport Officials Behind Vnukovo Tragedy

Russian Investigative Committee representative considers "criminal negligence" as the main reason of the plane crash that killed Total's CEO in Vnukovo.

MOSCOW, October 21 (RIA Novosti) - The reason for the plane crash in Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport that killed French energy giant Total's chief executive is "criminal negligence" by airport officials, a Russian Investigative Committee representative said.

"It is already clear now that the reason for what has happened was not a terrible and tragic combination of circumstances, as the airport's workers are trying to present it, but the criminal negligence of the [airport] officials who failed to secure coordinated actions of the airports' workers," representative Vladimir Markin said.

Earlier Russia's Investigative Committee announced that the two reasons for the crash that were considered as most probable were a traffic control error and the actions of the snowplow driver.

A traffic control error could have occurred as the plane's taxiing was being coordinated by a traffic control intern shortly before the crash, a Vnukovo source told RIA Novosti. As for the snowplow driver, investigators claimed that he was drunk during the incident, though the driver denies this. He has been detained for 48 hours and is likely to be arrested soon.

Bad weather conditions and pilot error were cited as other possible reasons.

The Falcon 50 business jet crashed late Monday night in the Vnukovo-3 Airport after the plane hit a snowplow during takeoff. The aircraft was en route from Moscow to Paris with Total CEO Christophe de Margerie as the only passenger on board besides three crew members, also French citizens. All four on board died in the crash.

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