The recordings of the conversation between fight control officers and the driver of the snowplough at Vnukovo Airport have been exposed to the general public. The audio recording should help investigators find out new circumstances of the tragedy, in which the head of the French oil and gas giant was killed.
It was reported that the driver of the snowplough told flight control officers that he had removed snow from the runway. However, the officers, due to interference with communication, did not see the vehicle on the runway at the moment when French aircraft Falcon-50 took off.
Vnukovo Airport air traffic controllers said earlier at a press conference that their colleagues were innocent. They have to work on poor quality equipment, the officers said.
Air traffic controller Svetlana Krivsun, a trainee, gave permission to the pilots of Falcon-50 to take off under conditions of minimum visibility. Krivsun was being assisted by Alexander Kruglov, an experienced dispatcher, who in 2007 prevented an air crash, thus saving the lives of more than 140 people. Several other employees of Vnukovo Airport were arrested within the scope of investigation of the crash.
As for the prime suspect on the case - snowplough driver Vladimir Martynenko - expertise confirmed the presence of alcohol in his blood - 0.6 ppm.
The air crash took place on 21 October. Private jet Falcon-50 was taking off when the aircraft suddenly hit a snow removing vehicle on the runway. The aircraft flipped over and exploded, killing all four people aboard, including the head of the French oil and gas group Total, Christophe de Margerie.