April 12th, 2010
09:13 AM ET

Polish president to be buried Saturday

Polish President Lech Kaczynski, who was killed in a plane crash in Russia over the weekend, will be buried alongside his wife on Saturday, Polish state television reported Monday.

The body may be put on display at the Presidential Palace for the public to pay respects starting on Tuesday, TVP Polonia reported.

Poland was shocked over the weekend by the crash, which killed dozens of political, military, economic and civic leaders along with Kaczynski.

Only 14 bodies - out of nearly 100 killed - have been positively identified, according to Jacek Sasin, and official in the Chancellery of the President's Office, Polonia reported.

Kaczynski's body returned to tributes in his homeland Sunday afternoon.

Soldiers in perfect step carried the casket from the plane onto the tarmac, where mourners were waiting. Catholic priests recited prayers at the military airport before Kaczynski's daughter and twin brother, followed by others, took turns kneeling before the flag-draped casket.

The Kaczynski family will decide where the late president and his wife will be laid to rest, Sasin said.

Tens of thousands of Poles across the country observed a two-minute moment of silence Sunday to remember their president and others killed in the plane crash.

Meanwhile, investigators said they found the aircraft's flight data recorders in good condition and began deciphering them Sunday, the independent Russian Interfax News Agency reported.

Residents flocked to central Warsaw, the site of the presidential palace, to mourn Kaczynski. They left wreaths and lit candles. By Sunday, the numbers grew to about 100,000 by some estimates. Many cried openly. Others stared blankly at the sky.

On Monday, the country begins a week-long period of mourning.

The plane carrying Kaczynski crashed Saturday morning while trying to land at an airport near Smolensk in Russia.

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Filed under: Poland • World
soundoff (One Response)
  1. A. Toth

    When I first heard about this incident on CNN TV I was very taken back; what in the world were so many top officials of one country doing on the sme airplane? Second question. If the airplane was built and serviced by a former national enemy, such as the Soviets, whom in Poland in their right minds would have authorized that decision? Third question. Boeing Corporation would certainly rent a few airplanes to Poland would they not, at reasonable rates? Certainly the Pentagon might. As for human error of the pilot, I think there was a series of human errors, would it not seem? I am not saying that this was a deliberate act of terror by the Russian Federation, but I think I would have been a little more apprehensive given history of the region and the two countries. May God be with every Pole and the Polish nation as they deal with this accident. May it bring each of us closer togather with them as Brother in Arms.

    April 12, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |