More held over Moscow plane crash

Published: Thursday 23rd October 2014 by The News Editor

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Russian investigators have detained four more employees of Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport after a plane crash that killed the head of French oil company Total and three crew members.

As the investigation widened beyond the driver of the snowplough that the private jet hit, the airport announced that it had accepted the resignations of its general director and his deputy.

The only person detained immediately after the crash on Monday was the 60-year-old driver of the snowplough, who investigators said had been drinking. His lawyer denies this.

Investigators said the suspects now include the flight control chief, two traffic controllers and the senior engineer in charge of snow removal.

Christophe de Margerie and three crew members died when the French-made Dassault Falcon 50 collided with the snowplough during take-off.

Mr de Margerie, 63, known as “Mr Moustache” for his bushy facial hair, rose through the ranks at Total to become chief executive in 2007, and added the post of chairman in 2010.

He was a vocal critic of sanctions against Russia, arguing that isolating Moscow was bad for the global economy. He travelled regularly to Russia and recently dined in Paris with an ally of President Vladimir Putin, who is under EU sanctions.

Paris-based Total is the fifth-largest publicly traded integrated international oil and gas company in the world, with exploration and production operations in more than 50 countries.

Published: Thursday 23rd October 2014 by The News Editor

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