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2010 April 10 — Why Now?
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The Crash At Smolensk

While the BBC, as usual, has a lot of information in its article, Polish President Lech Kaczynski dies in plane crash, the most complete coverage can be found on Wikipedia.

First off, the passenger list showed 89 passengers, but one didn’t make the flight. There were also 8 crew members, which is why the Russians reported 97 people lost.

All of the senior members of the Polish Defense Ministry, except the Defense Minister, died in the crash, i.e. the President, their Chairman of their Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Chiefs of Staff of military services. [The Wiki article has a more complete listing than I’ve seen elsewhere.]

The aircraft was one of two Tu-154Ms, used by the Polish Air Force’s 36th Special Aviation Regiment for VIP flights. The aircraft is very similar to the Boeing 727.

Initial reports indicate that the aircraft hit trees short of the runway at Smolensk in heavy fog. The Russians said that they recommended that the aircraft divert to Moscow or Minsk because of the fog, but the pilot chose to make the attempt.

While I’m sure the crash will probably be listed as pilot error, this isn’t that simple. President Kaczynski had earlier threatened to dismiss the pilot on a flight to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, for not wanting to land because of the hostilities between Georgian and Russian forces. The pilot in the crash would know about that.

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April 10, 2010   5 Comments