Poland in shock as president dies in air crash

The Polish president Lech Kaczynski was among 130 people killed after their plane crashed as it approached a Russian airport.

Telegraph [UK]
10 Apr 2010

President Lech Kaczynski was travelling with his wife from Warsaw to Smolensk airport, 220 miles southwest of Moscow, when his plane crashed in thick fog.

Poland was left stunned by the news that their president, his wife, and a whole tier of the Polish elite had been killed.

A television newsreader fought back tears as she relayed the news.

Sergei Antufiev, the regional governor of the Smolensk, said that everyone on board had been killed.

“It clipped the tops of the trees, crashed down and broke into pieces,” Mr Antufiev, told Russia-24 television news network by telephone. “There were no survivors.”

Russia said that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will personally head the investigation into the crash. The plane’s Black Box recorder has already been located among the smouldering wreckage of the plane, which crashed in woodland.

Conditions around the airport were described as foggy when the Tupolev Tu-154 came down a mile from the airport…

…The plane was also carrying the governor of Poland’s central bank, Slawomir Skrzypek, and many senior officers in the armed forces.

Chief of staff General Franciszek Gagor and Major General Bronislaw, head of operational forces, were killed in the crash alongside the head of land forces, the air force commander, the special forces chief and the navy vice-admiral.

“The leadership of the general staff of the Polish army is meeting today. Faced with this crisis, it will take the appropriate decisions,” general staff spokesman Dariusz Niedzielski said.

According to Polish military regulations, deputy commanders automatically take over commanding posts in such emergencies, pending formal nomination…

The entire article is at the Telegraph

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