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Snow-Plough Driver In Total CEO Plane Crash Was Drunk, Investigators Say

The awful news overnight of Total CEO Christophe de Margarie's death in a freak plane crash caused by the jet hitting a snow-plough on the runway has taken a darker twist. As RT reports, Russian prosecutors claim the driver of the snowplough was drunk, and the air traffic controller for the jet was an intern. However, his lawyer, however, says he was completely sober, due to a heart condition preventing him from drinking claiming "he was so sober at the time of the crash," adding "we don't want the blame for the accident falling on an ordinary man." Investigators added that "bad weather conditions and the possibility of a mistake by the pilot will also be considered." ITAR-TASS reports that Putin has sent his condolences and reached out to Francois Hollande, "Vladimir Putin has long known de Margerie and had a close working relationship with him."

 

The snowplough driver survived (while reports last night said he perished) - If proven guilty, the sentence for the driver under Russian law could be up to seven years in prison.

 

Video from the terible accident scene:

 

As RT reports,

Russian prosecutors claim the driver of the snowplow which crashed with Total CEO Christophe de Margerie’s jet was drunk. His lawyer, however, says he was completely sober, due to a heart condition preventing him from drinking.

 

“My client is suffering from an acute heart condition; he does not drink at all and his relatives and friends can testify to that,” Aleksandr Karabanov, the lawyer, said.

 

“He was sober at the time of the crash,” he also said, adding that a number of lawyers will be involved in Martynenkov’s defense. “We don’t want the blame for the accident to fall on an ordinary man,” he added.

 

Karabanov also made clear that he will insist on an independent expertise to determine the presence of alcohol in his client's bloodstream.

 

Russia’s Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin also told the reporters on Tuesday adding “there is a possibility that a number of airport staff will be suspended from carrying out their duties pending criminal investigation.” He also did not rule out the possibility of new arrests being made during the course of the investigation.

 

...

 

It has also been determined that the taxiing shortly before the crash was being coordinated by a traffic control intern, RIA Novosti was told by a source inside Vnukovo. The official spokesman for the airport has declined to comment. Air traffic control personnel will be tested for alcohol and drugs, the investigators said.

 

The black boxes have been uncovered and are being processed at this time.

And Putin has expressed condolences...

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed his condolences over the Total CEO's death. TASS cited his spokesman as saying that "Vladimir Putin has long known de Margerie and had a close working relationship with him."

 

“I am shocked at the news,” the Russian leader conveyed to French President Francois Hollande.

 

“I ask that you offer my sincerest wishes and condolences to the friends and families of Christophe de Margerie – a renowned French entrepreneur, who has helped spearhead a great number of join projects, which have been the source of a long and fruitful partnership between Russia and France in the energy sphere,” Putin continued.

 

“When we lost Christophe de Margerie, we lost a real friend to our nation, and we shall hold his memory very dear.”

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