Snowplow driver says he didn’t see or hear Total CEO’s jet before it crashed at Moscow airport

Russia Total CEO Killed-1.jpg

In this image made from video provided by Russian State Television Rossiya, an investigator works at the wreckage of a private jet which collided with a snowplow at Vnukovo airport in Moscow, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. The head of French oil giant Total SA and three French crew members were killed at Vnukovo airport when a corporate jet, the French-made Dassault Falcon 50, collided with a snowplow, Russian investigators said Tuesday. (AP Photo) TV OUT (The Associated Press)

The driver of the snowplow that apparently caused the plane carrying the Total CEO to crash at a Moscow airport says he neither saw nor heard the private jet as it sped toward him down the runway in the dark.

The aircraft clipped the snowplow on takeoff late Monday and crashed, bursting into flames and killing Total SA Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie and the three crew members on board.

Investigators have detained the snowplow driver, who they say was drinking on the job. His lawyer, however, denies this.

Channel One television on Wednesday showed footage of the driver, Vladimir Martynenko, being questioned. He said he didn’t notice that he had strayed onto the runway and didn’t hear the plane over the noise of the snowplow or see any lights.

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