April 13th, 2010
07:47 AM ET

Body of Poland's first lady arrives in homeland

The body of Poland's first lady arrived in the country Tuesday morning as thousands waited to pay tribute.

Maria Kaczynska, and her husband, Polish President Lech Kaczynski, were among nearly 100 Polish leaders and dignitaries who died in a weekend plane crash in Russia that killed 96 people.

Her body was scheduled to be taken on the same route that her husband's body was taken Sunday through the streets of central Warsaw to the presidential palace, officials said.

Thousands of mourners were outside the palace Tuesday to view the body.

A short ceremony was scheduled Tuesday outside the palace, once the first lady's body arrived, officials said. Then the body was to be taken inside the palace where many of the mourners will be allowed inside to view the coffin. A ceremony also was scheduled for later in the day during a special Parliament meeting.

The couple had been traveling with a Polish delegation to Russia for a commemorative service marking the 70th anniversary of the Russian massacre of Polish prisoners of war in the village of Katyn when the plane went down.

Among other Polish officials killed in the crash were Aleksander Szczyglo, the head of the National Security Office; Jerzy Szmajdzinski, the deputy parliament speaker; Andrzej Kremer, the deputy foreign minister; and Gen. Franciszek Gagor, the army chief of staff, according to Kaczynski's Law and Justice Party.

The cause of the crash is beng investigated. There have been questions raised over why so many of Poland's military, economic and civic leaders were aboard the same flight. - CNN's Geoff Hill contributed to this report

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  1. Mont

    This is a big loss to the country as well as the whole world ...may their soul in peace ...
    They will be always in our hearts .

    April 13, 2010 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |