Friday, March 09, 2012

Poland report shows Smolensk plane crash avoidable

The Smolensk-bound passenger jet that crashed on April 10, 2010, killing Polish President Lech Kaczynski and 88 other top officials, should never have taken off that day because the destination was not on Poland's register of approved airfields, according to a 70-page report from the Polish Supreme Audit Office presented in the Sejm on Friday.

No inspection of the Smolensk-Severny airfield was carried out prior to the flight, as required by established procedures. That inspection would have found the airfield inadequate and prompted a decision to transport the president to Smolensk by helicopter from the nearest suitable airport, the report says.

The report identifies numerous violations in the organization of flights for top Polish officials throughout the entire 2005-2010 period. Indeed, the report gives failing grades to all the government bodies concerned with the flights.

All ninety-six people on board the April 10 flight to Smolensk for the 70th anniversary of the WWII Katyn massacre perished when the Russian-built Tu-154 crashed in poor weather conditions.

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