(Reuters) – Russian prosecutors detained four Moscow airport workers and denied bail to the driver of a snow plough which hit a private jet killing the CEO of French oil company Total earlier this week, officials said on Thursday.
Russia’s investigative committee has moved quickly to detain those it says might be responsible for the crash, which killed Christophe de Margerie in a tragedy which has done little to improve Russia’s reputation for poor air safety.
The chief executive of Moscow’s Vnukovo airport and his deputy resigned over the crash, but some critics have accused investigators of trying to find a scapegoat by accusing the driver of the snow plough, 60-year-old Vladimir Martynenko, of being drunk. His lawyer denied the allegations.
On Thursday, a court denied Martynenko’s appeal to be allowed bail on health grounds. Investigators said Martynenko, who appeared in the blue uniform he wore to work at Vnukovo, would be a flight risk and could destroy evidence.
He will be kept in jail until the court case begins.
Earlier the investigative committee said in a statement that prosecutors had detained Vladimir Ledenev, the leading airfield service engineer at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport, which was overseeing snow clearing work on the night of the crash.
They had also detained the head of flights at the airport, Roman Dunayev, dispatcher-trainee Svetlana Krivsun as well as Vnukovo’s dispatcher Alexander Kruglov.
(Reporting by Katya Golubkova and Maria Tsvetkova, editing by Elizabeth Piper and William Hardy)