Russia to release all recordings from doomed jet

18th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia said Tuesday that would release a full transcript of communications between Russian air traffic controllers and the Polish jet that crashed last year killing president Lech Kaczynski.

The Russian announcement caps a tense spell that has seen both Moscow and Warsaw stage rival press conferences blaming the other for being responsible for the politically-sensitive crash.

Kaczynski died with 95 others -- many of them ministers and top military officials -- when his presidential jet crashed on April 10, 2010 as it attempted to land in fog near the city of Smolensk in northwestern Russia.

Russia issued a dramatic final report last Wednesday in which investigators blamed the disaster on the incompetence of the plane's pilots and pressure from senior Polish officials to land despite dangerous weather warnings.

But Polish officials played their own tape on Tuesday suggesting that the Russian air traffic controllers had failed to notify the Polish plane's crew that they were well off course while landing in fog.

"It is difficult to accept that in the final Russian report this information was not included," the chief Polish investigator told report.

The Polish press conference drew an immediate Russian response.

"There is no evidence of pressure being put on traffic control," a Russian investigator with the Russian Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) was quoted as saying by Interfax.

The agency said in a separate statement that transcripts of all the doomed jet's communications would be released "for the purpose of objectively informing the world community" about what happened on board the flight.

The releases would include transcripts of cabin communications between the pilots as well telephone conversations and radio communications. The Russian statement said failed to specify when this information would be released.

The Russian statement added that all the available information had already been handed to Poland that Polish investigators had received the opportunity to work with "drafts of the communication transcripts."

© 2011 AFP

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