Yevgeny Prigozhin's plane crash: The latest

Yevgeny Prigozhin's case entrusted to Total CEO plane crash investigator


The case of the crash of Prigozhin's Embraer jet was entrusted to investigator Ivan Sibula. He investigated the 2014 business jet crash at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport in which Total CEO Christophe de Margerie was killed, as well as the SSJ100 accident at Sheremetyevo, when 41 people were killed.

The case of the plane crash of the founder of PMC Wagner Yevgeny Prigozhin was assigned to Ivan Sibula, an investigator of the main department for investigating especially important cases of the Investigative Committee Ivan Sibula, a source close to the Investigative Committee told RBC.

Ivan Sibula investigated high-profile plane crash cases, including the 2014 plane crash at Vnukovo Airport that killed the head of the French oil company Total, Christophe de Margerie. Margerie's Dassault Falcon 50EX business jet then collided with a snowplow that drove onto the runway.

Snowplow driver Vladimir Martynenko and his boss Vladimir Ledenev were sentenced in 2017 to four and three years in prison respectively. They were simultaneously amnestied. In 2020, the verdict was announced for three other defendants: air traffic controller Nadezhda Arkhipova was sentenced to five years in prison and was amnestied, her colleague Alexander Kruglov was sentenced to five and a half years in prison, and their boss, flight director of Vnukovo air traffic control center Roman Dunaev, was sentenced to six years.

Ivan Sibula also investigated the SSJ 100 crash in 2019, when 41 people were killed. The airliner caught fire and started burning after an emergency landing at Sheremetyevo Airport due to a thunderstorm. The airplane bounced against the runway after touchdown, its structures were deformed, and the kerosene that spilled out of ruptured fuel tanks caught fire.

The Investigative Committee ruled that it was the actions of commander Denis Evdokimov that led to the disaster. Evdokimov was charged under Part 3 of Art. 263 of the Criminal Code (violation of the rules of traffic safety and operation of air transport, negligently resulting in the death of two or more persons). The pilot did not plead guilty. He believes that it was a flaw in the design of the airplane that cased the accident to occur.

Prigozhin plane crash

On the evening of August 23, Yevgeny Prigozhin's Embraer Legacy business jet was heading from Moscow to St. Petersburg. It crashed near the village of Kuzhenkino in the Bologovsky district in the north-west of the Tver region in Central Russia. According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, there were ten people on board, including three crew members. All were killed in the crash. A criminal case was filed into violation of traffic safety rules and operation of air transport. Pilot error, technical problems and external influences are believed to be among the versions of the tragedy.

According to the Flightradar24 service, Prigozhin's plane ascended to an altitude of 8.5 km at 18:10 Moscow time and continued flying at this altitude before 18:19. The plane was gaining altitude and descending again afterwards. The last report from the aircraft was received at 18:20, when the jet was at an altitude of about 6 km. Flightradar24 spokesman Jan Petchenik clarified that the plane lost 2.4 km of altitude in 30 seconds.

The Embraer Legacy business jet belonged to MNT-Aero LLC. The Federal Air Transport Agency, citing the airline, said that the commander of PMC Wagner Dmitry Utkin and the general director of JSC Neva Valery Chekalov (this company, according to Fontanka, is associated with Prigozhin's structures) could be among the passengers, in addition to Prigozhin himself.

The latest about Prigozhin's death:

  • Al Jazeera TV channel said citing a source at PMC Wagner that Prigozhin's phone was found at the crash site. The search operation was completed, the remains of ten victims were found at the scene, Interfax said citing emergency services.
  • An element of the tail unit of Prigozhin's plane was found three and a half kilometres from the crash site, RIA Novosti said.
  • The bodies found at the crash site were sent to a forensic morgue in Tver, a ritual service representative said.

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Author`s name Pavel Morozov
Editor Dmitry Sudakov