Poland Blames Russian Air Controllers for Kaczynski Plane Crash

World | January 18, 2011, Tuesday // 18:40|  views

Polish Minister of Interior and Administration Jerzy Miller, who heads the commission investigating the April 2009 catastrophe that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski, at a news conference Tuesday. EPA/BGNES

Russian air traffic controllers at Smolensk have caused the crash of Polish President Lech Kaczynski's plane in April 2010, according to Poland's panel investigating the crash.

According to the Polish investigators, the Russian controls failed to notify the cabin crew that the landing aircraft was off course.

Air traffic controllers of the Smolensk Severny Airport were operating under big pressure, made many mistakes and did not provide support to the crew of the aircraft of Polish President Lech Kaczynski in landing under complicated conditions, according to the Polish governmental commission that investigated the presidential plane's crash near Smolensk, as cited by ITAR-TASS.

Poland's Interior Minister Jerzy Miller, who chairs the investigators' panel, declared that controllers told the plane crew the aircraft was on the correct landing course, while the plane was actually 70 meters below the level it should have been, and 80 meters off course.

According to the deputy chair of the commission, Miroslaw Grahowski, the controllers were faced with a very exhausting and tough situation.

Poland's conclusions about the crash, in which Lech Kaczynski perished with 95 other members of the Polish political elite, differ from those of Russian report presented last week, which blames the Smolensk crash solely on the Polish crew.

According to the report, the presence of Poland's air force commander Andrez Blasik in the cockpit was one of the main reasons for the plane crash near Smolensk, as he has been pressuring the crew. Blasik had a high blood-alcohol level, the aviation committee has stated.

Meanwhile, Lech Kaczynski's son-in-law claimed, as cited by RTT, that Russian air traffic controllers deliberately misinformed the cabin crew as part of a plot to cause the presidential plane to crash. The family claimed Russia assassinated Kaczynski in revenge for his anti-Russian views and policies, and to prevent his reelection.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Lech's brother and political opposition leader, has slammed Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk for accepting the conclusions of the Russian report.

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Tags: Poland, Lech Kaczynski, Polish, Russia, Smolensk, airplane crash, plane crash, crash


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