10.04.

2010: Polish President and his Wife Killed in Plane Crash in Russia

2010: Polish President and his Wife Killed in Plane Crash in Russia
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons (Author: Bartosz Staszewski, www.prsteam.net)

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 10 April 2010
  • Along with the two of them, another 94 passengers and crew members were aboard the plane. All were killed when the plane crashed a mere 200 meters short of the runway.

On this day in 2010 occurred a Polish national tragedy, when the airplane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczyński crashed in Russia.

Another 95 passengers and crew members were on the plane with him. All of them were killed, including the president’s wife Maria Kaczynski, former president Ryszard Kaczorowski, the chief of the Polish General Staff, the president of the National Bank of Poland and 15 members of the parliament.

The plane was en route from Warsaw to Russia, where the Polish delegation was supposed to attend the event marking the 70th anniversary of the Katyn Forest massacre, where Stalin’s police killed about 22,000 Poles during their occupation of eastern Poland in World War II.

The accident occurred to the Polish Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft shortly before the scheduled landing at the Russian airport in the city of Smolensk. Namely, the aircraft was flying too low and in dense fog, so that it hit the treetops, damaged a wing and hit the ground, only around 200 meters short of the runway.

A pilot error was declared the cause of the accident, because the pilots were allegedly inexperienced in flying in poor visibility conditions (fog). It is possible that the misinformation of the Russian flight control contributed to the accident.

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