April 10, 2010
Polish President Lech Kaczynski dies in plane crash
A plane carrying Lech Kaczynski, the Polish president, has crashed near Smolensk airport in western Russia, killing all on board, Russian officials have reported.
Polish officials confirmed on Saturday that Kaczynski was on board the flight with his wife, as well as Slawomir Skrzypek, the president of Poland's central bank, Andrzej Kremer, the deputy foreign minister and the army chief of staff.
The crash occurred about 1.5km from Smolensk airport in foggy conditions.
President Lech Kaczynski and scores of other senior Polish figures have been killed in a plane crash in Russia.
“They were in Russia to mark the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, when Soviets killed thousands of Poles.
The Russian emergencies ministry told Itar-Tass news agency the plane crashed at 1056 Moscow time (0656 GMT).”
SNIPPET: “Smolensk regional governor Sergei Antufiev told Russian TV that no-one had survived.
“As it was preparing for landing, the Polish president’s aircraft did not make it to the landing strip,” he said.
“According to preliminary reports, it got caught up in the tops of trees, fell to the ground and broke up into pieces. There are no survivors in that crash.”
Polish TV worker Slawomir Wisniewski said he had seen the crash from his hotel near the airport.
"I saw through the fog, the aeroplane flying very low with the left wing pointing to the ground," he said.
"I heard something being broken and then that thudding sound. Two flashes of fire next to each other."
Mr Putin visited the crash site, after saying he would personally oversee the investigation into the crash.
"Everything must be done to establish the reasons for this tragedy in the shortest possible time," he said.
He was to meet his Polish counterpart, Mr Tusk, in Smolensk.
Russian officials said all the bodies had been recovered from the scene and were being taken to Moscow for identification.
Russia's Emergency Minister Sergei Shoigu said both of the plane's flight information recorders had been found and were being examined.
Partial list of those dead:
Lech Kaczyński - the President
Maria Kaczyńska - the First Lady
Ryszard Kaczorowski - last Polish President in exile
Jerzy Szmajdziński - Vice Speaker of the Lower House (left wing leader)
Krzysztof Putra - Vice Speaker of the Lower House
Władysław Stasiak - chief of the President's Chancellary
Aleksander Szczygło - chief of the Office for National Security
Paweł Wypych - presidential Secrtetary of state
Mariusz Handzlik - as above
Andrzej Kremer - vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
gen. Franciszek Gągor - chief of staff of the Polish Army
Przemysław Gosiewski - rigth wing prominent politician
Zbigniew Wassermann - as above
Janusz Kochanowski - Polish ombudsman
Sławomir Skrzypek - chief of the Polish National Bank
Janusz Kurtyka - chief of the institute for the National Rememberance
Bishop Tadeusz Płoski - Catholic field bishop of the Polish Army (head Catholic chaplain)
Archbishop Miron Chodakowski - Orthodox field bishop of the Polish Army
And many, many, many others ....
Wild Thing's comment........
Greatest country in Europe these days. Long live Poland. What a loss! What an unimaginable tragedy! Prayers for Poland. A terrible loss for all freedom loving people. How terribly sad.
Posted by Wild Thing at April 10, 2010 04:20 PM
Pity! What a shame God Bless the Polish and pray for their families.
Posted by: Mark at April 10, 2010 07:10 PM
Sad. Poland is one of America's best allies. obama pulled a rug out from under Poland with the missle defense fiasco. Also have to wonder if the crash was fate, or did the Russians pull another coup.
Posted by: TomR at April 10, 2010 10:12 PM
Posted by: Wild Thing at April 15, 2010 12:42 PM