Crew error led to Polish plane crash, Russians conclude
Mourners at a makeshift memorial outside the presidential palace in Poland after a plane crash killed the president in April 2010.
January 12th, 2011
08:43 AM ET

Crew error led to Polish plane crash, Russians conclude

The crew was at fault in a Polish plane crash that killed the country's president and nearly 100 other people last April, a Russian-led investigation found Wednesday.

The crew should have decided to divert to another airport in light of "repeated and timely" warnings about bad weather in Smolensk, Russia, the Interstate Aviation Committee concluded.

The presence of a Polish Air Force commander in the cockpit may also have contributed to the crash, the IAC said, noting that he had alcohol in his blood at the time of the crash.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and many top Polish officials died in the crash as they headed to a memorial service to mark a World War II massacre.

The crew of the Polish presidential plane was under psychological pressure to land the plane at Smolensk, fearing Kaczynski would react negatively to a decision to divert the plane, IAC chair Tatyana Anodina said.

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soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. soulman

    Why everybody forgets that Tower in Smolens know nothing about the altidute of plane. They just could ask plane about it (what you could hear in tapes when they ask plane if they got to 500 m high or not). And polish pilots (which can also be heard on the tape) counting the altidute correctly (70-60-50). So they knew what they were doing and they decided to go lower then 100m be themself.
    One more thing – Tower control really looked a little "lazy" during this landing (and whole flight – they were looking for replacement airfield most of the time). And thats obviously to me that NO ONE could even imagine that plane with PRESIDENT could try to land in Smolensk in such bad weather conditions. Can someone imagine that plane with Russian or USA president would even flight to airport in such weather? It's impossible situation!!! It could happen only if presidents is nuts and drunk, so as his company ...

    January 20, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Krzysztof

    What could else Russians conclude? Yes, our controllers acting under orders of reluctant officers caused that tragedy?! We are terribly sorry and we will pay all compensations to families of all members of 96 persons on board.???!!! Wait yet for next news guys. Being Russian I would be afraid to fly anywhere there. Who needs any controllers when President of a friendly country is approaching?

    January 21, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • soulman

      Where are the facts? ... one advice – don't belive in everything you see in Polish newspapers 😉

      January 21, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sergey

      Compensation, ugh? That's exactly what I talked about. Compensations! OK, our president killed himself along with a hundred others, sad, but business must go on. How can we get money out of that, let us think.... oh, yes, Russian flights controllers! They let other people to pilot's cabin, they put them under pressure, they force them to land when weather didn't allow. Sure, accusations are pretty weak, but why don't try, it never hurts.

      January 21, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Krzysztof

    I am talking to you not to CNN nor Polish language newspapers. There are no but one Polish newspaper in Poland. The rest is German, French and so forth. Greetings!

    January 21, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Krzysztof

    Anyhow if there will be any proof found insruance companies will not let it go. If you caused a accident you are responsible and no money will return lives. Russians are afraid of compensations as Sergey has said above.

    January 22, 2011 at 3:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Sergey

      OK, we will see. I don't see tower's fault here. Probably they did something wrong and they deserve punishment, but the cause of this issue was not the tower's actions. We will see, though.

      January 24, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
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