Thursday, April 10, 2014

Russia, Poland to pay tribute to memory of Smolensk air crash victims


A delegation of the Polish Embassy in Moscow under Ambassador Wojciech Zajonczkowski will take part in the events to commemorate the fourth anniversary of Polish President Lech Kaczynski's plane crash near Smolensk.

Memorial services will begin at 10:15 a.m., with a Catholic and an Orthodox priest uttering prayers in Polish and in Russian on the site of the crash, the head of the consular service of Poland in Smolensk, Michal Greczylo, said.

Andrzej Kunert, an official of the Polish organization in charge of Polish burial sites abroad, will also take part in the commemorative event.

The guests will lay wreaths at the impact location and will then leave for the Katyn memorial. Smolensk Governor Alexei Ostrovsky and representatives of the region's university students will lay wreaths at the memorable stone at the Severny airfield.

The Polish President's aircraft crashed near Smolensk on April 10th 2010 because of thick fog. 96 people aboard the aircraft, - 8 crewmembers and 88 passengers, including President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and high-ranking Polish officials died in the crash.

NTSB Identification: ENG10RA025
Accident occurred Saturday, April 10, 2010 in Smolensk, Russia
Aircraft: TUPOLEV TU154, registration:
Injuries: 89 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On April 10, 2010, about 0656 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), a Tupolev Tu-154M, Tail Number 101, operated by the Polish Air Force as flight PLF101, crashed during approach to the Military Aerodrom Smolensk "Severnyi", Russia. All 89 passengers and 7 flightcrew were killed, including the President of Poland. The airplane was destroyed by impact and postcrash fire.

Following the accident, the governments of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Poland concluded a bilateral agreement that the regional international independent safety investigation organization, the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC), would conduct the investigation. Although the airplane was operated as a "state" aircraft, by the mutual agreement, the investigation was conducted following the guidance provided in ICAO Annex 13 Standards and Recommended Practices. As the United States was state of design and manufacture for the TAWS and FMS units, the NTSB was requested to support the investigation activity.

For more information on the accident investigation, contact MAK at

Poland remembers 2010 Smolensk air disaster 

 Ceremonies are taking place in Warsaw on Thursday in honour of the 96 who died, including President Lech Kaczynski and wife Maria, in the Smolensk air disaster on 10 April 2010.

At 08.41 am local time this morning a trumpet played at the Powązki Military Cemetery in the Polish capital, the precise time four years ago when the TU-154 aircraft, carrying politicians, officials and top military brass to a WWII Katyn massacre remembrance ceremony crashed in a field near the Smolensk military airport in western Russia.

The official ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Deputy Prime Minister Elżbieta Bieńkowska and Warsaw mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz and members of the victims' families

As the trumpet sounded the names of the 96 victims were read out and prayers were said at the cemetery where 28 of the dead are buried.

Events are also taking place in cities around Poland, including Bialystok, Czestochowa, Elblag, Gdansk, Gdynia and Lublin, Nowy Sacz, Radom, Sopot, Wroclaw, Zakopane and Zielona Gora.

At the same time as the official ceremony was under way at Powązki cemetery, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the Law and Justice (PiS) opposition party and identical twin brother of the late president, attended mass at a church in Warsaw and then gathered with supporters outside the Presidential Palace to pay their respects to the dead.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski has rejected official explanations of the cause of the Smolensk air disaster, with reports by both Poland and Russia finding that poor visibility and human error were behind the crash of the TU-154.

Kaczynski and members of his Law and Justice party have referred in the past to the "assassination" of President Lech Kaczynski and a report will be released today by MP Antoni Macierewicz which will claim that an explosion brought down the plane four years ago.

On Monday, however, Poland's top military prosecutor Colonel Ireneusz Szelag presented 1300 pages of documentation rejecting the theory that an explosion caused the air crash.

“After analysing 700 samples, experts found no traces of an explosion taking place aboard the TU-154,” he said.

But MP Macierewicz, who is also a deputy leader of the Law and Justice party, said the latest official assessment into the causes of the disaster was "unreliable".

"There are allegations that falsification of evidence could have occurred,” he said, alluding to a cover up by both Polish and Russian authorities.

There is also anger by supporters of the late president that Russia has yet to return the wreck of the TU-154, though Moscow says that investigations are still ongoing.

A demonstration organised by the right-wing Gazeta Polska newspaper outside the Russian Embassy in Warsaw on Wednesday night called for the return of the plane wreck and other key evidence into the causes of the disaster.

An opinion poll for the Gazeta Wyborcza daily by the Millward Brown pollster found that one-in-four (23 percent) of respondents believe that the death of President Kaczynski was the result of a “conspiracy” – an increase of six percent from a similar poll on the 3rd anniversary of the disaster.