Christophe de Margerie‘s jet hit a snowplow and crashed on a Vnukovo runway last night. Total’s CEO and the three crew members died. Margerie was returning to Paris from Gorky, south of Moscow, where he took part in a meeting of international investors with PM Medvedev. Russian investigators are now claiming the snowplow driver was drunk. He has been detained. His lawyer claims he was perfectly sober.
Is this going to be a case of “the switchman is always guilty”? After the previous major accident in Moscow, the July metro disaster, “a senior track master and his assistant” were detained and are still sitting in jail waiting for their day in court. However more senior people have also been charged, although not arrested.
Judging by the Investigative Committee’s latest statement, the switchman isn’t the only bad guy: “It is already evident that the reason for what had happened was not a terrible, tragic turn of events – as the airport’s representatives are trying to claim – but criminal negligence of executives who failed to ensure coordinated action by the airport staff.”
Perhaps — but it’s been less than 24 hours since the accident and the investigators say they already know who to blame, even as the “black boxes” remain unopened. Typical.
Yesterday, October 20, was the International Day of the Air Traffic Controller.