Saturday, April 10, 2010

Polish Plane Crash in Russia: 97 People on Board die in Flight that Crashed while landing,Polish President and wife dead

MOSCOW (BNO NEWS) — Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife were killed when the presidential plane crashed near an airport in western Russia.A total of 132 people were on board the Tupolev 154 aircraft, according to the Russian Investigation Committee. The governor of Smolensk Oblast confirmed there were no survivors in the accident, which happened several hundred meters from the runway of Smolensk Airport.According to media reports, the head of the Polish Army and former Polish president Ryszard Kaczorowski were also on board. Confirmation was not immediately available.

MOSCOW (AP) - Polish Foreign Ministry says Polish president and wife were on plane that crashed in Russia.

Moscow (Reuters) - 87 Dead After Polish President Lech Kaczynski’s Plane Crashes in Russia. The plane of Polish President Lech Kaczynski has crashed on approach to Smolensk airport in western Russia, Polish airport officials say.
More details of the Crash here in the LA Times. I am still unclear of the number of dead, the European papers were reporting that it was 132, then over 100, while American Papers are saying 87-97. I would think that the records of a Presidential Plane would be fairly accurate ? I will try to update this tomorrow.
CNN International now reporting the Plane Crash at 5:30AM. VIDEO. Video was a little odd, there is no foam and the fire seems smoldering in spots. There are limited fire rescue people seen in video, yet there are men in leatherjackets walking around smoking ( which seems odd near a Crash site with fuel ).
This was all gathered at other news of information yet.( AmericanCNN still not reporting) More Print updates in Comments.
11 AM Update BBC has more this morning on the crash.At this time the speculation is that Bad Weather, Heavy Fog and Pilot error are being raised. Nothing has been mentioned as to the Black Boxes yet. VIDEO with this post clearly shows more of the Crash Site and the Flames and fire crews ( much better than the CNN video, you can see more).
More about the Katyn Incident, and why this planned event honoring and attempting to heal this moment was important for Russia and Poland.
More from the NYT : the LEde about the Katyn Event and the honoring of the dead, and the closure that is needed.....very sad.


enigma4ever said...

Reporting from Moscow (LATIMES)
Polish President Lech Kaczynski was believed to have died Saturday when his presidential plane crashed while trying to land in thick fog in the Russian city of Smolensk.

There were 132 people aboard the Tupolev Tu-154 plane, including the president and his wife. Officials said there were no survivors.

The head of the Polish army, the head of the presidential administration and the Polish central bank were also believed to be dead in the crash.

"The Polish presidential plane did not make it to the runway while landing," Smolensk regional Gov. Sergei Anufriyev told Russian television. "Tentative findings indicate that it hit the treetops and fell apart. Nobody has survived the disaster."

Concerned about navigating through the dense fog, ground controllers had urged the pilot to land in Moscow or Minsk rather than risk the poor visibility, Ekho Moskvy radio reported.

"The plane caught fire after the crash," a Polish foreign minister spokesman told Reuters in Warsaw. "Teams began attempting to pull out passengers from the badly damaged airplane."

Kaczynski, 60, was elected to the presidency in 2005. A former justice minister and mayor of Warsaw, he was imprisoned in the 1980s for his opposition to communism.

Kaczynski was on his way to visit Katyn, the site of a 1940 massacre of thousands of Polish officers at the hands of Soviet troops. The slaughter of the Poles was denied for decades by the Soviet government, and has remained a painful point of contention between Russia and Poland.

enigma4ever said...

The Guardian :::

The Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, was among 132 people killed when their plane crashed in Smolensk, west Russia. Photograph: Tomasz Gzell/EPA

The Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, and his wife were among 132 people killed when their plane crashed in thick fog on its approach to a regional airport in Russia early this morning.

The governor of the west Russian town of Smolensk confirmed there were no survivors from the Tupulov Tu-154 plane, which came down at 11am (7am GMT) about a mile (1.5km) from Smolensk airport.

"The Polish presidential plane did not make it to the runway while landing. Tentative findings indicate that it hit the treetops and fell apart. Nobody has survived the disaster," Smolensk governor Segei Anufriyev told the Russia 24 news channel.

The Polish government will hold an emergency meeting later today. Officials said the head of the Polish army, the governor of the central bank and the head of the presidential administration were also on board the plane, as well as Kaczynski, his wife and the families of other senior officials.

"The plane caught fire after the crash," said a Polish foreign ministry spokesman in Warsaw. Teams began attempting to pull out passengers from the badly damaged airplane."

The pilot was told Smolensk airport was closed because of thick fog, according to the news agency Interfax. He was offered a choice of landing instead in either Moscow or Minsk, the capital of Belarus. But he decided to continue with the original flight plan and land at Smolensk.

The pilot made three unsuccessful attempts to land before the crash. On the fourth try and plane fell apart, Interfax said, citing officials at Smolensk's interior ministry.

Russia's foreign ministry confirmed the cause of the air catastrophe was bad weather. "According to provisional information the crash happened because the plane failed to land at the military airport near Smolensk in conditions of severe fog,' one official said.

Kaczynski was visiting Smolensk to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, which took place in forests outside the town. The massacre of Polish officers by Russian secret police was one of the most notorious incidents of the second world war, and has long been a source of tension between Warsaw and Moscow.

On Wednesday, Poland's prime minister Donald Tusk attended a joint ceremony at Katyn with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Kaczynski, who had poor relations with the Kremlin, was making a separate trip to the spot.

Russia's president Dmitry Medvedev said that Putin would head a special commission to investigate Kaczynski's death and the circumstances of the crash. The emergency services minister Sergei Shoigu was also rushing to the scene at Severny airport, about 275 miles west of Moscow on Medvedev's instruction, Interfax reported.

enigma4ever said...

American CNN now reporting...

Kittie Howard said...

Oh, Lord, what a disaster!

enigma4ever said...

thanks Kittie...
so sad especially in light of it being planned as a Healing event...healing,mending history and rifts between Russia and Poland...

tom said...

What a nightmare for the Russians, they finally break their stony silence on the Katyn Forrest, and this happens, the Poles must be going crazy with greif, Reports seem to say it was pilot error, and the pilot was Polish, still you have to wonder how a plane with so MANY dignitaries is in this age UNABLE to land in FOG

To make matters worse, Putin said the Katyn massacare was Stalin's way to get even for a massacare of Russian prisoners by the Poles during the Russo-Polish conflict during the Russian Civil War, personally I never heard of that incident...

enigma4ever said...

It is sad on many levels- especially when you read the articles and realize how many key Polish people were on that plane...

I posted a link to the Katyn Forrest Massacre, I only know a little of it-my best friend in nursing school was Polish-her family came after's a sad reminder of that even other countries are trying to heal from their History's painful moments...

enigma4ever said...

Los Angeles Times | April 10, 2010 | 8:25 a.m.
President Lech Kaczynski was on his way to visit Katyn, the site of a 1940 massacre of thousands of Polish prisoners of war at the hands of Soviet secret police, when the Tupolev 154 plane he was on went down in thick fog in the Russian city of Smolensk.

The head of the Polish military, the head of the presidential administration, the Polish central bank chief, members of parliament and the president's wife, Maria, were also killed. There were no survivors of Saturday's crash, authorities said.

-- Gen. Alexander Alyoshin, deputy chief of Russia's air force, confirmed that the pilot disregarded instructions to fly to another airfield because of fog.
--U.S. President Obama and other world leaders expressed their deepest condolences to Poland.
--Thousands of mourners flock to the presidential palace in Warsaw.

libhom said...

I can't help but wonder if Putin was responsible for the crash. He thought that the late President of Poland was too close to the US, and Putin did run the KGB.

Andrew said...

I've only heard bits and pieces about this, but I bet the crash site smells of conspiracy.