97 killed in Polish president's plane crash

14:03, April 11, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

Ninety-seven people died Saturday in the crash of a chartered plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski to Smolensk, Russian officials said.

Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu, who was at the site of the tragedy, said 97 bodies would be placed in coffins and taken to Moscow's Domodedovo airport.

"The bodies of those who died will be delivered to Moscow for identification," he said

It was earlier reported that 96 people, including 88 belonging to the Polish delegation to the Katyan ceremony and 8 crew members, were killed in the crash.

Both "black boxes have been found and examination on them have begun," Shoigu added.

The Russian Prosecutor General's investigations committee has opened an investigation into the crash.

"The investigation is looking into various theories...including unfavorable weather, human error, and technical malfunctions," the committee said in a statement.

First Deputy Chief of the Air Force Main Staff, Lieutenant-General Alexander Alyoshin said the Tu-154 crew ignored the Smolensk air traffic controller's instructions several times.

"At a distance of 1.5 kilometres, the air traffic controlling group found out that the crew had increased the sinking speed and began descending below the glide path. The chief air traffic controller ordered the crew to proceed to level flying, but when the crew ignored the order, he commanded the plane several times to head to the reserve aerodrome. Nevertheless, the crew continued the descent," Alyoshin told the Itar-tass news agency.

"Unfortunately, it ended in a tragedy," he added.

The 26-year-old Tupolev Tu-154 was enroute from Warsaw to Smolensk, Russia, when it went down in thick fog with the president, his wife, the army chief of staff, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer and the central bank governor aboard, said Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Piotr Pszkowski.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sent Minister for Emergency Situations Sergei Shoigu to the crash site and ordered the establishment of an investigation committee headed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.



  • Do you have anything to say?



Related Channel News

Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • On Sept. 26, a resident passes by a flower terrace decorated for the coming National Day. (Xinhua/Hang Xingwei)
  • The photo, taken on Sept. 26, shows the SWAT team ready for the joint exercise. (Xinhua/Wangkai)
  • Two metro trains in Shanghai collided Tuesday afternoon, and an identified number of passengers were injured in the accident, the Shanghai-based eastday.com reported. Equipment failures were believed to have caused the crash on the Line 10 subway, Xinhua quoted local subway operator as saying.
  • An employee at a gold store in Yiwu, located in east China's Zhejiang province, shows gold jewelry on Monday.(Xinhua/Zhang Jiancheng)
  • Tourists ride camels near China's largest desert lake Hongjiannao in Yulin, north China's Shaanx Province, Sept. 24, 2011. Hongjiannao is shrinking as a result of climate change and human activities, and may vanish in a few decades. Its lake area, which measured more than 6,700 hectares in 1996, has shrunk to 4,180 hectares. Its water level is declining by 20-30 centimeters annually and its water PH value has risen to 9.0-9.42 from 7.4-7.8. (Xinhua/Liu Yu)
  • Actors perform royal dance at the Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul, Sept. 27, 2011. A ceremony commemorating the 38th South Korea Sightseeing Day was held in Gyeongbok Palace on Tuesday. (Xinhua/He Lulu)
Hot Forum Discussion