Polish President Lech Kaczynski, who was among the nearly 100 people killed in a plane crash in Russia over the weekend, will be buried next to his wife on Saturday. The shocking and tragic crash may be the result of human, rather than technical, error according to a Russian investigation. Pop the hood for more on this sad tale.
Russian investigators suggested human error may have been to blame in the plane crash that killed the Polish president and 95 others, saying Monday that were no technical problems with the Soviet-made plane.
The Tu-154 went down while trying to land Saturday in dense fog near Smolensk airport in western Russia. All aboard were killed, including President Lech Kaczynski and dozens of Polish political, military and religious leaders.
They had been travelling in the Polish government-owned plane to attend a memorial at nearby Katyn forest honouring thousands of Polish military officers who were executed 70 years ago by Josef Stalin’s secret police.
The pilot had been warned of bad weather in Smolensk, and was advised by traffic controllers to land elsewhere — which would have delayed the Katyn observances.
The pilot was identified as Capt. Arkadiusz Protasiuk, 36, and the co-pilot as Maj. Robert Grzywna, 36. Also on the cockpit crew were Ensign Andrzej Michalak, 36, and Lt. Artur Zietek, 31.
In Warsaw, there was concern that the pilots may have been asked by someone in the plane to land at Smolensk instead of diverting to Minsk or Moscow, in part to avoid missing the commemoration ceremonies.
In Warsaw, Polish Prosecutor General Andrzej Seremet said Polish investigators talked to the flight controller and flight supervisor and “concluded that there were no conditions for landing.”
“The tower was advising against the landing,” Mr. Seremet said.
Polish investigators have not yet listened to the cockpit conversations recorded on the black boxes, but will, to see if there were “any suggestions made to the pilots” from other people aboard the plane.
It sounds like this tragedy could have been prevented if only the pilots had been willing to land elsewhere. And with everyone dead, how sad is it they have to investigate who made the suggestion to ignore air traffic control’s advice?
Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of those killed and the people of Poland.