Saturday, April 10, 2010

Polish President Killed in Plane Crash

Awful news.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski and dozens of others in a high-level delegation were killed Saturday when their plane crashed on landing outside the western Russian city of Smolensk, officials said.

Russian state television reported that the Tu-154 jet crashed about a kilometer short of the runway on its fourth attempt to land in heavy fog at the Smolensk-Severnyi military airport, shortly before 11 a.m. Moscow time.

Reports of the number killed in the crash varied. Polish officials put the figure at 88, while Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations said 96 had died and Russia's Investigative Committee said the total was 132.

"We still cannot fully understand the scope of this tragedy and what it means for us in the future," said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Piotr Paszkowski. "Nothing like this has ever happened in Poland."

"We can assume with great certainty that all persons on board have been killed."

Passengers included the president and his wife as well as other top officials. Slawomir Skrzypek, president of the National Bank of Poland, was also on board. Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Piotr Pszkowski said that the army chief of staff and Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer were also on board the plane.
Assorted reaction here.

A nation is in shock.

Lech Walesa:
Former Polish president Lech Walesa, who headed the Solidarity movement, called the crash "inconceivable".

"The Soviets killed Polish elites in Katyn 70 years ago. Today, the Polish elite died there while getting ready to pay homage to the Poles killed there," a shaken Walesa told AFP.
Aviation expert Vladmimir Putin will personally head the investigation. Color me suspicious.

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