Polish President Lech Kaczynski dies in plane crash in SW Russia
A passenger plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski crashed near the city of Smolensk, killing all 87 on board, Russia's Emergencies Ministry said on Saturday.
Polish Foreign Ministry press secretary Petr Paszkowski confirmed that the Polish president was on board the Tu-154 aircraft. Kaczynski was flying with a delegation to take part in the Katyn memorial ceremonies.
The plane clipped the tree line at about 10:50 a.m. in and broke in two as the pilot attempted a fourth landing amid heavy fog at a military airport near Smolensk, Russia, Rossiya-24 said, citing officials at the scene. Newswire RIA quoted an unnamed Russian security official as saying pilot error was a factor in the accident.
Rossiya-24 TV showed live footage of rescue workers attempting to extinguish pockets of fire among the wreckage almost two hours later at the airport, about 320 kilometers (200 miles) east of Moscow.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev dispatched Emergency Ministry Sergei Shoigu to the site of the crash and formed a special commission headed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to investigate the cause.
Sergei Antufiev, regional governor of Smolensk, said there were no survivors. "It clipped the tops of the trees, crashed down and broke into pieces," Antufiev told Russia-24 television news network by telephone.
The delegation was to attend a commemoration of thousands Poles and Russians killed in the spring of 1940 by Soviet forces under Josef Stalin at Katyn.
Ryszard Kaczorowski, the last Polish president in exile during World War II, the head of the Institute of National Remembrance Janusz Kurtyka and the Polish general chief of staff Franciszek Gagor were to be on the plane, according to a list of passengers obtained by PAP newswire.
--With assistance from Maciej Martewicz and Marta Waldoch in Warsaw in Warsaw and Brad Cook and Anna Shiryaevskaya in Moscow. Editors: Alan Crosby, Douglas Lytle
Sixth Airplane Accident Proves Fatal for Lech Kaczynski.
Novinite.com World | April 10, 2010, Saturday
Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski had five airplane accidents before Saturday’s plane crash near Smolensk in which he and many senior Polish officials perished.
The Russian agency RIA Novosti recounts about Kaczynski’s airplane misfortunes in the last couple of years.
It emphasizes the incident on December 2, 2008, when Kaczynski’s plane Tu-154 broke in Mongolia, and he had to fly to Tokyo, Japan, with a charter flight.
On December 3, 2008, the Polish cabinet decided to purchase new government plane but PM Tusk remarked that he would not pay for a luxury aircraft for Kaczynski but for a safe one.
On December 5, 2008, the plane in which Kaczynski was flying over South Korea encountered powerful turbulence. It is after this accident that Kaczynski remarked, „Every airplane flight is connected with a certain risk but the duties of the President are connected with a very serious risk in general and this is why the President has to travel all the time.”
On January 14, 2009, because of a thick ice cover, Kaczynski’s plane left late for his meeting with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko.
In September 2009, both Polish government planes were out of order, so President Kaczynski had to travel to New York City with a commercial flight.
Poland to Hold Early Presidential Elections after Kaczynski Death.
Novinite.com World | April 10, 2010, Saturday
Poland is going to hold early presidential elections after the death of President Lech Kaczynski, who perished in a plane crash near Smolensk, Russia.
Bronislaw Komorowski, Parliament Speaker and presidential candidate of Poland’s ruling party, has automatically become the country’s acting President after Lech Kaczynski died.
A Polish government spokesperson cited by the BBC has confirmed that early presidential elections will be held. Poland’s regular presidential elections were scheduled for the fall of 2010 as Lech Kaczynski was elected for a five year Presidential term in October 2005, and assumed office in December 2005.
According to the Polish Constitution, the speaker of the Sejm, Poland's lower house of Parliament, becomes the interim head of state in case of the death of the president. The interim president is required to call early presidential elections within two weeks from the day the president dies. The elections must take place within two months from the announcement of the election date, the Wall Street Journal has pointed out.
Bronislaw Komorowski of the ruling Civic Platform party of Polish PM Donald Tusk was expected to be the major rival of Lech Kaczynski, who was going to run for reelection.
Another 2010 presidential candidate Jerzy Szmajdziński, a Vice-Marshal of Polish Sejm and a former Polish minister of defense, also perished in the Smolensk plane crash.
Piotr Wiesiolek, first deputy president of the National Bank of Poland, will become an interim governor until the Parliament appoints a new governor as Sławomir Skrzypek, the Polish Central Bank Governor, was aboard the crashed plane as well.
List of Top Polish Officials on Kaczynski Delegation Who Perished in Smolensk Plane Crash.
Novinite.com World | April 10, 2010, Saturday
Below is a list of the high ranking Polish officials who were aboard the plane carrying the Polish delegation to the remembrance of the Katyn Massacre led by President Lech Kaczynski, which crashed near Smolensk in Russia.
According to preliminary information, all 87 persons on board of the Polish government plane died.
Lech Kaczyński – President of Poland
Maria Kaczyńska – Wife of Lech Kaczynski
Ryszard Kaczorowski - Ryszard Kaczorowski, Honorary GCMG (born 26 November 1919) is a Polish Statesman. Between 1989 and 1990 he served as the last President of Poland in exile. Resigned his post following Poland's regaining independence from the Soviet sphere of influence and election of Lech Wałęsa as the first democratically-elected president of Poland since World War II. He also passed the presidential insignia to Wałęsa, thus ending the 45-years long episode of the Polish government in exile.
Jerzy Szmajdziński - a Vice-Marshal of Polish Sejm and a former Polish minister of defence. Candidate for President of Poland in presidential elections 2010
Władysław Stasiak – Head of the President’s Office
Aleksander Szczygło - Head of the National Security Bureau
Paweł Wypych - Secretary of State in the Chancellery of the President of Poland.
Mariusz Handzlik – Undersecretary at the President’s Administration
Andrzej Kremer – Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
WP gen. Franciszek Gągor – Head of the General Staff of the Polish Army
Andrzej Przewoźnik - Vice-President and Secretary of the Commission for the Commemorations of the Victims of Katyn Massacre of the Prime Minister (1994-1998).
Grzeogrz Dolniak – Member of the Sejm
Przemysław Gosiewski – Member of the Sejm
Zbigniew Wassermann – Member of the Sejm
Janusz Kochanowski – Polish Ombudsman
Sławomir Skrzypek – Polish Central Bank Governor
Janusz Kurtyka – President of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance
Bishop Tadeusz Płoski - Polish Roman Catholic priest, dean of the riverside military units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration, Dean of the Government Protection Bureau, Field Bishop of the Polish Army.
TV grab from Russian TV channel NTV taken April 10, 2010 shows rescue workers at the site of the crash of the Poland Presidential TU-154 plane near the Smolensk airport. April 10, 2010, Saturday. Source: EPA/ BGNES
Last Edit: Apr 10, 2010 7:41:23 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Serbia sends condolences to Poland 10 April 2010 | 13:35 | Source: Tanjug BELGRADE -- Serbian President Boris Tadić expressed his deepest condolences to the Polish people, whose president was killed in an plane crash on Saturday.
“Accept my deepest condolences in the name of the Serbian people and in my name. The tragedy that occurred, in which President Lech Kaczynski and other state officials lost their lives, has effected us deeply,” Tadić said, adding that Kaczynski was a true friend of Serbia and that he would never be forgotten.
Serbian Parliamentary Speaker Slavica Đukić-Dejanović sent a telegram of condolences to her Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski as well.
“In the name of all MPs of the Serbian national parliament and in my name, please accept our deepest condolences regarding the tragic death of the President of Poland Mr. Kaczynski, his wife, the state officials, passengers, and crew members who lost their lives today in the accident,” Đukić-Dejanović stated in the telegram.
Relations were moving towards improvement. Aside from this delegation to Russia and the Polish victory day parade participation, Putin is invited to Poland in some months. Hopefully this at least serves to bring the ruling garnitures closer, or at least not further apart.
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