Polish president Lech Kaczynski killed in plane crash
April 10, 2010
(ChattahBox) – The president of Poland since 2005, Lech Kaczynski, was feared dead after his plane crashed in thick fog as it approached a Russian airport, killing 132 people including his wife and the head of Poland’s central bank and army.
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 Army chief of staff, General Franciszek Gagor, National Bank president Slawomir Skrzypek and Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremoer were also believed to be on the flight manifest.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has called an emergency meeting of his Cabinet in Warsaw.
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.