Russia establishes causes of Polish plane tragedy: official

20th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russia said on Wednesday it had established the causes of the plane tragedy that killed Polish president Lech Kaczynski and 95 others in April but would not publish them until Poland commented.

The Interstate Aviation Committee, which is known under its Russian acronym MAK and handles air safety in the ex-Soviet Union, handed chief Polish investigator Edmund Klich a 200-page report containing results of the investigation.

"The technical commission of the Interstate Aviation Committee, all its sub-commissions and expert groups have completed their work on the investigation of the plane's catastrophe," Oleg Yermolov, the committee's deputy head told reporters.

Yermolov said that Poland now had 60 days to submit its comments before the report on the reasons for the disaster is published. He declined to elaborate on the causes outlined in the report about why the Tupolev-154 had crashed.

"Detailed conclusions have been drawn up concerning the circumstances of this flight," the MAK said in a statement on its website.

"The systemic and direct causes as well as aggravating factors that led to the catastrophe have been established on the basis of the analysis of all the factors," it added.

The Polish presidential Russian-made airliner crashed near Smolensk in northwestern Russia in April, killing Kaczynski, his wife and all 94 other people aboard the flight in the country's worst postwar tragedy.

Kaczynski and dozens of top officials had been flying to Russia to attend a ceremony marking the 1940 massacre in Katyn forest of thousands of Polish army officers at the orders of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

The months since the tragedy have seen a warming of once-tense relations between Russia and Poland.

Russia has stressed that it is handing full information to Poland and has made efforts to be open to the media, although Warsaw has complained of delays in the investigation.

According to preliminary findings, the investigation found that the crew ignored warnings that heavy fog made conditions unsuitable for landing and that two passengers were present in the cockpit shortly before the crash.

Polish officials have said the two passengers were Poland's air force chief General Andrzej Blasik and Mariusz Kazana, diplomatic protocol chief with Poland's foreign ministry.

But they have always insisted that no evidence has emerged that they put pressure on the pilots to land.


© 2010 AFP

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