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Polish Civilian and Military Leadership Killed in Crash

tomahawk6

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My sympathies to our Polish friends on the loss of President  Kaczynski and so many of Polands finest civilian and military leaders.

Crash scene.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8612902.stm

MOSCOW – Polish President Lech Kaczynski and some of the country's highest military and civilian leaders died when the presidential plane crashed as it came in for a landing in thick fog in western Russia on Saturday, killing 96, officials said.

Russian and Polish officials said there were no survivors on the Soviet-era Tupolev, which was taking the president, his wife and staff to events marking the 70th anniversary of the massacre of thousands of Polish officers by Soviet secret police.

The Army chief of staff, Gen. Franciszek Gagor, National Bank President Slawomir Skrzypek and Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer were also on board, the Polish foreign ministry said.

Russia's Emergency Ministry said there were 96 dead, 88 part of a Polish state delegation. Poland's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Piotr Paszkowski, said there were 89 people on the passenger list but one person had not shown up.

"We still cannot fully understand the scope of this tragedy and what it means for us in the future. Nothing like this has ever happened in Poland," Paszkowski said. "We can assume with great certainty that all persons on board have been killed."

The governor of the Smolensk region, where the crash took place about 11 a.m. (0700 GMT), also said no one survived.

State news channel Rossiya-24 showed footage from the crash site, with pieces of the plane scattered widely amid leafless trees and small fires burning in woods shrouded with fog. A tail fin with the Polish red and white colors stuck up from the debris.

"The Polish presidential plane did not make it to the runway while landing. Tentative findings indicate that it hit the treetops and fell apart," regional governor Sergei Anufriev said on Rossiya-24. "Nobody has survived the disaster."

The presidential Tu-154 was at least 20 years old. Polish officials have long discussed replacing the planes that carry the country's leaders but said they lacked the funds. According to the Aviation Safety Network, there have been 66 crashes involving Tu-154s, including six in the past five years. The Russian carrier Aeroflot recently withdrew its Tu-154 fleet from service.

Polish-Russian relations had been improving of late after being poisoned for decades over the Katyn massacre.

Russia never has formally apologized for the murders of some 22,000 Polish officers, but Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's decision to attend a memorial ceremony earlier this week in the forest near Katyn was seen as a gesture of goodwill toward reconciliation. Rossiya-24 showed hundreds of people around the Katyn monument, many holding Polish flags, some weeping.

Putin has been put in charge of a commission investigating the crash, the Kremlin said.

In Warsaw, Prime Minister Donald Tusk called an extraordinary meeting of his Cabinet and the national flag was lowered to half-staff at the presidential palace, where people gathered to lay flowers and light candles.

Black ribbons appeared in some windows in the Polish capital.

Poland's president is commander-in-chief of its armed forces but the position's domestic duties are chiefly symbolic. Kaczynski, 60, became president in December 2005 after defeating Tusk in that year's presidential vote.

The nationalist conservative was the twin brother of Poland's opposition leader, former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Kaczynski's wife, Maria, was an economist. They had a daughter, Marta, and two granddaughters.

Kaczynski had said he would seek a second term in presidential elections this fall. He was expected to face an uphill struggle against Parliament speaker Bronislaw Komorowski, the candidate of Tusk's governing Civic Platform party.

According to the constitution, Komorowski would take over presidential duties.

Poland, a nation of 38 million people, is by far the largest of the 10 formerly communist countries that have joined the European Union in recent years.

Last year, Poland was the only EU nation to avoid recession and posted economic growth of 1.7 percent.

It has become a firm U.S. ally in the region since the fall of communism — a stance that crosses party lines.

The country sent troops to the U.S.-led war in Iraq and recently boosted its contingent in Afghanistan to some 2,600 soldiers.

U.S. Patriot missiles are expected to be deployed in Poland this year. That was a Polish condition for a 2008 deal — backed by both Kaczynski and Tusk — to host long-range missile defense interceptors.

The deal, which was struck by the Bush administration, angered Russia and was later reconfigured under President Barack Obama's administration.

Under the Obama plan, Poland would host a different type of missile defense interceptors as part of a more mobile system and at a later date, probably not until 2018.

Kaczynski is the first serving Polish leader to die since exiled World War II-era leader Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski in a plane crash off Gibraltar in 1943.

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Saturday, "This is a horrible tragedy for Poland and we extend to the people of Poland our deepest condolences."

Neighboring Germany's foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, said he was "shocked and full of sadness" at Kaczynski's death.

"All the German people are mourning with our Polish neighbors," Westerwelle said during a visit to South Africa.
 

The Bread Guy

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Yikes!  Condolences - we mourn with you.

I'm guessing this is going to be postponed - just released yesterday:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Poland, will lead a delegation of government representatives on a working visit to Canada April 14 to 15.  This is the Polish Prime Minister’s first visit to Canada ....
 
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Given the high ranking nature of the passengers and the flight itself, I have to consider the possibility of a deliberate act.

I find it curious why you would ever have so many key government and military personnel traveling together?

"A scan of a list of 88 passengers aboard the plane published on a Polish government website showed the names of Poland's chief of staff, General Franciszek Gagor, and Major General Bronislaw, head of operational forces.

General Tadeusz Buk, head of land forces, air force commander Andrzej Blasik and special forces chief Wojciech Potasinki, as well as navy vice-admiral Andrzej Karweta, were also on the list."

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2...?section=world

nl8y6t.png
 

George Wallace

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This really is a tragedy.  Such a large number of a nation's political, military and social leaders, all killed in one aircrash will take quite a toll on the nation. 


Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act.

Polish president among 96 killed in Russian plane crash
10/04/2010 8:13:50 AM
Article Link

CTV.ca News Staff
Polish President Lech Kaczynski and dozens of Polish dignitaries and politicians were among 96 people killed when the presidential plane crashed in western Russia on Saturday.


Russian and Polish officials said there were no survivors on the Tupolev, a Soviet-era plane. The president, his wife, Maria, and a delegation of Polish officials were on the plane for a one-and-a-half hour flight from Warsaw to attend ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, when thousands of Polish officers were killed by Soviet secret police.

The President was joined on board by the army chief of staff, the national bank president, the deputy foreign minister, an army chaplain, head of the National Security Office, the deputy parliamentary speaker, a civil rights commissioner and at least two presidential aides and three lawmakers, according to the Polish foreign ministry.

Russia's Emergency Ministry said 96 people died in the crash, 88 of whom were from the Polish delegation. Piotr Paszkowski, Poland's foreign ministry spokesperson, said there were 89 people listed on the passenger list but one person had not shown up for the flight.

"We still cannot fully understand the scope of this tragedy and what it means for us in the future. Nothing like this has ever happened in Poland," Paszkowski said. "We can assume with great certainty that all persons on board have been killed."

Poland's parliamentary speaker, the interim president, declared a national week of mourning.

The crash occurred at about 11 a.m. local time in Russia's Smolensk region. The governor of the region also said there were no survivors.

Anna Ardayeva, a reporter with Feature News Story in Moscow, said there will be an investigation into what caused the crash.

"The Russians have set up an investigative committee and investigators are trying to find out why the pilot decided to land in what looks like were unfavourable weather conditions," Ardayeva told CTV News Channel in a telephone interview Saturday morning. "It was very foggy, and according to some reports, the plane touched treetops upon landing, and then the crew lost control of it."

Footage of the crash from Russian news stations showed pieces of the plane scattered among trees, with small fires burning in the foggy woods.

The Tupolev Tu-154 was at least 20 years old. There have been 66 crashes involving Tu-154s, including six in the last five years, according to the Aviation Safety Network. Officials in Poland have discussed replacing the planes that carry Polish leaders, but said they have yet to due to lack of funds.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev promised to work closely with Poland on the crash investigation and sent his condolences to the Polish people.

"Russia shares the grief and mourning of Poland," Medvedev said in a statement posted on the Kremlin Web site. "Please accept the most sincere condolences to the Polish people, words of compassion and support to relatives and friends of those who perished."

The Kremlin said Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will head a commission that will investigate the crash.

Leaders from around the world joined Medvedev in issuing statements of condolence to the Polish people.

In Poland, citizens and politicians reacted to news of the crash with shock and tears. Mourners lit candles and lay flowers on the ground outside the presidential palace in Warsaw, where the flag was lowered to half mast. President Donald Tusk called an emergency meeting of cabinet.

In the Polish government, the president is commander in chief of the country's armed forces but the domestic duties of the role are mainly symbolic. Kaczynski, 60, had been president since December 2005, when he defeated Tusk in the presidential vote.

with files from The Associated Press
 

pbi

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This is sad. I had the honour to briefly meet the CLS of the Polish Army in Warsaw in 2008: he had a genuine professional interest in building ties between our two armies(the reason we were there). I hope this idea survives him.  A terrible reminder of why it's probably better not to fly around in old Soviet-pattern aircraft.

RIP
 

vonGarvin

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From bild.de:
Polens Präsident Lech Kaczynski († 60), der bei einem Flugzeugabsturz in Russland starb, war auf dem Weg zur polnisch-russischen Gedenkfeier an die Opfer von Katyn.
"Poland's president Lech Kaczynski, who died in a plane crash in Russia, was on the way to a Polish-Russian memorial service for the victims of Katyn."
Location of the crash:
karte-warschau-smolensk-15729050-q,templateId=renderScaled,property=Bild,height=349.jpg

Noted people on board:
Ryzard Kaczorowski († 90), Polens ehemaliger Staatspräsident (Poland's former president)
• Jerzy Szmajdziński († 58), Vizepräsident des polnischen Abgeordnetenhauses (Vice president of the polish parliament)
• Władysław Stasiak, Chef der Präsidentenkanzlei (Chief of the president's chancellory)
• Aleksander Szczygło († 56), Polens Ex-Verteidigungsminister  (Former minister of defence)
• Slawomir Skrzypek († 56), Zentralbank-Chef  (Head of the central bank)
• Paweł Wypych († 42), ehemaliger Arbeitsminister (former labour minister)
• Andrzej Kremer, Vize-Außenminister (assistant or vice foreign minister)
• Franciszek Gagor, Generalstabs-Chef (Chief of the general staff)
• Jerzy Bahr, Polens Botschafter in Russland (Polish ambassador to Russia)
• Diplomat Mariusz Handzlik († 45) (diplomat)
• Grzegorsz Dolniak († 50), Abgeordneter (parliamentarian)
• Przemysław Gosiewski († 55), Ex-Minister  (former minister)
• Militär-Bischof Tadeusz Ploski († 54) (Military Bishop)
• der bekannte polnische Historiker Janusz Kurtyka († 49)  (Famous polish historian)

• Piotr Nurowski, Präsident des polnischen Olympia-Komitees (president of the Polish Olympic Commitee)

• Anna Walentynowicz (†80), Streikführerin an der Danziger Werft und Solidarnosz-Mitbegründerin  (Strike leader from Danzig, co-founder of Solidarity)
 

Yrys

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Queen offers sympathy to Poland after president's death

The Queen has expressed her "deepest sympathy" to the Polish government
and people after the death of President Lech Kaczynski in a plane crash.
Gordon Brown said the whole world would be "saddened" and Tory leader
David Cameron called it a "black day".

Rev Canon Bronislaw Gostomski, a priest at a Polish church in West London,
was among more than 80 passengers who died. Members of the community
in London have been gathering at a Polish cultural centre in Hammersmith
to lay flowers.

The aircraft was carrying some of the country's top military and civilian leaders,
as well as the president's wife, when it came down in thick fog as it approached
Smolensk airport, in western Russia.
 
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Technoviking said:
They were en route to Russia, for a commemoration at Katyn.  No conspiracy here.

Still.

Imagine if you put the commanding Generals of the US Army, US Marine Corps, US Air Force, US Navy and US Special Operations Command on one plane.

Then added the President and other members of his senior cabinet.

Then it crashed.

This should NEVER have been allowed and I fail to understand why it was done in this case.

Unfortunately a lot of key decisions around the world are being made these days solely based on financial limitations.

That being said, people can be sent up a day or two earlier or by various other forms of transport without significant expense.

I am first-generation Canadian born in Montreal, but my parents were Polish (from Nowy Targ and Rymanow) and still have more family there than here.

This whole thing strikes a little too close to home for me and it pisses me F-n off.
 

vonGarvin

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Tetragrammaton said:
Still.

Imagine if you put the commanding Generals of the US Army, US Marine Corps, US Air Force, US Navy and US Special Operations Command on one plane.

Then added the President and other members of his senior cabinet.

Then it crashed.

This should NEVER have been allowed and I fail to understand why it was done in this case.

Unfortunately a lot of key decisions around the world are being made these days solely based on financial limitations.

That being said, people can be sent up a day or two earlier or by various other forms of transport without significant expense.

I am first-generation Canadian born in Montreal, but my parents were Polish (from Nowy Targ and Rymanow) and still have more family there than here.

This whole thing strikes a little too close to home for me and it pisses me F-n off.
I understand your feelings, and I'm certain that there will be a massive inquiry into this.  I just hope that there are no foundations to your fears.  The implications would be devestating.
 

Retired AF Guy

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From Pravada.ru:

Article Link

President Kaczynski, Wife and Polish Delegation Killed in Plane Crash

10.04.2010 Source: Pravda.Ru

The President of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, accompanied by his wife Maria and many officials of the Polish government, were killed in a plane crash while attempting to land in Smolensk, Russia today. The plane brushed tree tops in bad foggy weather, before crashing and bursting into flames.

There were no survivors among the 132 persons on board. The presidential plane departed from Warsaw and came down at 11:00 am (7:00 am GMT) about a mile (1.5km) from the airport and 225 km from Moscow. The Polish delegation was traveling to Smolensk for a Katyn commemoration ceremony.

The pilot was told Smolensk's Severny airport was closed because of thick fog, according to the news agency Interfax. He was told by air traffic controllers to divert to another landing site and given a choice of landing instead in either Moscow or Minsk, the capital of Belarus. But the pilot decided to continue with the original flight plan and land at Smolensk.

He made three unsuccessful attempts to land before the crash. On the fourth try, the plane fell apart in the tree tops, Interfax said, citing officials at Smolensk's interior ministry.
It seems rather incredible that the pilot chose to make so many unsuccessful attempts.

Russia's foreign ministry confirmed the cause of the air catastrophe was bad weather. "According to provisional information the crash happened because the plane failed to land at the military airport near Smolensk in conditions of severe fog.”

Kaczyński was born in Warsaw on June 18, 1949. He began his political career when he studied law at the University of Warsaw in the late 1960s. He was the son of an engineer who served as a soldier of the Armia Krajowa in World War II and a veteran of the Warsaw Uprising and his mother a philologist at the Polish Academy of Sciences. The twins: After being elected president in December 2005, Kaczynski named his twin brother, Jaroslaw, to the post of prime minister.

The Polish government will convene an emergency session in the aftermath of the tragedy. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has sent his condolences to acting President, Parliament speaker Bronislaw Komorowski. In line with the president's death, Parliament Speaker Bronislaw Komorowski has become the acting president in Poland.

"I, like all Russian citizens, have accepted with deep and sincere shock the news of the tragic death of the Republic of Poland's President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and the members of the large Polish delegation near the city of Smolensk, who were on their way for commemorations in Katyn." Vladimir Putin called Prime Minister Donald Tusk and expressed his condolences to him personally and the entire Polish nation.

Vladimir Putin will head a special commission to investigate the death of the Polish president and the circumstances surrounding the plane crash.

Lisa KARPOVA

PRAVDA.Ru

Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY

PRAVDA.Ru 
(My emphasis)
 

leroi

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Condolences to the people of Poland.

I'm still in shock over this news.
 

Retired AF Guy

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Here is a link to a diagram showing the flight path and crash site:

http://visualrian.com/images/large/623102

Here is a link to a info sheet on the TU-154:

http://visualrian.com/images/large/550547

 

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Prime Minister Harper offers condolences and announces the cancellation of Prime Minister Tusk's anticipated visit to Canada next week.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5jx3Uwcvt_yfYP4zSSgJq0v-Q_d-w?index=0&ned=ca
 

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Crash focusses attention on Tupolev-154

The death of Polish President Lech Kaczynski in a plane crash is likely
to raise questions about the 20-year-old Tupolev-154 he was travelling
in. The BBC's Adam Easton reports from Warsaw that there had been
calls for Polish leaders to upgrade their planes. And in late 2008 Mr
Kaczynski had suffered a couple of scares. Problems with the aircraft's
steering mechanism delayed his departure from Mongolia, forcing him
to take a charter flight to Tokyo, and a week later the plane was caught
up in turbulence flying to Seoul.

However, the aircraft had recently undergone a major overhaul and
Aleksey Gusev, the head of the maintenance plant that carried out
the work, told Polish TV that it should not have had technical problems.
"From the moment it entered service, the plane had had 5,004 flight
hours and 1,823 landings, which for aircraft of this class is not a lot,"
he said. "The plane was flying quite well and there were no complaints."
The overhaul was completed in December and included repairing the
plane's three engines. The next major service was due in six years.

'Modernised'

The Tupolev-154 was for more than a quarter of a century the backbone
of Russia's and the Soviet Union's air transport system. It carried about
half the number of all passengers flown by Russia's national carrier
Aeroflot and its successors in that time, with that number peaking at
137 million per year in 1990. About 1,000 were built, and some remain
in service in Russia and countries that were once part of the Soviet bloc.
The aircraft entered service in 1972 and was "modernised" in 1986, with
new engines and equipment to improve its fuel consumption and flight
operations.

But as an indication of its ageing design, the Chinese government decided
in 2001 to withdraw the Tu-154 from its airlines. Aeroflot took the decision
to phase them out more recently, saying their high fuel consumption made
them uneconomic.

An expert on Russian aviation, Paul Duffy, assessed the safety record of the
Tu-154 in 2004, for the BBC News website. Of 28 lost in accidents up to that
date - a figure about normal for the quantity, years of service and technology
of the type, in his view - few had crashed because of technical failure, he said.

Unrelated problems

"The Tu-154 operates in regions with not very good air traffic control and
navigation equipment, and in very difficult weather conditions," he said at
the time. Some of the accidents had little relation to the aircraft itself, he
added.

For example, in 1982, an aircraft landing at Omsk in Russia in a heavy
snowstorm hit six snowploughs that had not been told to leave the runway
as the aircraft landed. About five had been shot down by enemy or terrorist
attacks in Lebanon, Georgia and Afghanistan during the civil wars in those
countries.

In 2001, a Tu-154 crashed into the Black Sea after being hit by a Ukrainian
missile fired during exercises. One landed safely in a field after its cargo of
cigarettes caught fire but was completely burnt. Another ran out of fuel five
miles short of the runway when the state airline of an almost bankrupt country
decided to carry less fuel from its base, where the price was high. And Swiss air
controllers accepted full responsibility for a mid-air collision between a Tu-154
and a cargo plane in July 2002.

The Tu-154 is now no longer in production.

BBC Moscow correspondent Richard Galpin says Russian airlines are not
interested in newer Tupolevs because they are not comparable with Western
planes.

Aeroflot is now buying the vast majority of its aircraft from Boeing and Airbus.


Obituary: Lech Kaczynski

Tu-154 likely not to blame for crash: expert
 

The Bread Guy

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Message from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, on the death of President Lech Kaczynski

OTTAWA – It was with shock and deep sadness that my husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, and I learned of the tragic plane crash that claimed the life of President Lech Kaczynski and all passengers and crew in Smolensk, Russia.

A brave champion of freedom and patriotic pride, as well as a pioneer of the Solidarity movement, President Kaczynski had devoted all of his energy to serving his people. His election as president of the Republic of Poland in 2005 had led him, together with his twin brother, former Prime Minister Jaroslav Kaczynski, to embark on comprehensive reforms to improve his country’s institutions.

On behalf of all Canadians, we wish to extend our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the deceased. Our thoughts are with Canada’s Polish community, which is in shock and which we know had great affection and admiration for President Kaczynski.

Michaëlle Jean

-30-
 

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Kaczynski was the guy who wanted to fly over Georgia during the last conflict with Russia. He was crammed in one helo with other top Eastern Europe leaders but the pilot refused stating high risk with all the High Value cargo on board. Once they landed, Kaczynski vowed to press charges against the pilot for refusing to follow his order. Anyone knows what happened to that pilot?

 

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Kaczynski is being honoured posthumously as a National Hero of Georgia:

Saakashvili: ‘Kaczynski Played Amazing Role in Fight for Georgia’s Freedom

The Georgian President’s administration announced that Kaczynski was posthumously honored with an award of National Hero of Georgia for “showing heroism in defending Georgia’s interests” internationally. The statement also notes about Kaczynski’s role during the August, 2008, when he, along with presidents of Ukraine and Lithuania, as well as PMs from Latvia and Estonia arrived  in Tbilisi in show of support.
 

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First of all, RIP to those lost, and condolences to their loved ones, the Polish nation, and the Polish diaspora.

A few thoughts.

No conspiracy here.

Foreign Ministry spokesman, Piotr Paszkowski, said there were 89 people on the passenger list but one person had not shown up.

I'm gonna bet that this person, regardless of what happened, is going to have a very loooong week ahead of them with a lot of very 'interested' people.

Also, makes a very compelling case for cross loading and never forgetting line of succession when planning VIP travel.
 
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