Snowplough driver in Total CEO's Russia plane crash was drunk: investigators

21st October 2014, Comments 0 comments

The driver of a snowplough involved in a deadly accident at a Moscow airport that killed Total CEO Christophe de Margerie was drunk, Russian investigators said Tuesday, but his lawyer denied the claim.

"It has been established that the driver of the snowplough was in a drunken state," the Investigative Committee, which probes serious incidents, said in a statement.

It added that its preliminary theory was that "an error by air traffic controllers and the actions of the snowplough driver" were to blame for the deadly accident. Possible mistakes by the pilots were also being looked at.

But the driver's lawyer denied the claim, saying that his client has a heart problem and never touches alcohol.

"My client has chronic heart disease, he doesn't drink at all. His relatives and doctors can confirm this," lawyer Alexander Karabanov told Interfax news agency.

"At the moment of the accident he was sober."

The driver of the snow plough, who has not been named, has been detained and is being questioned by investigators, Karabanov said. "The investigation will ask for his arrest."

The lawyer suggested that the driver had been picked as a scapegoat to take the blame for the fatal crash.

"We don't want the responsibility for the accident to be shifted to just another ordinary man," said the lawyer.

© 2014 AFP

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