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No hypothesis excluded in presidential jet crash: official

Over three months after the April 10 crash of of a Polish jet which claimed the life of president Lech Kaczynski and 95 others, Polish justice officials have not ruled out any possible cause.

“We cannot exclude any of four hypothetical causes with any certainty yet,” spokesman for the Polish public prosecutor Zbigniew Rzepa told Poland’s commercial TOK FM radio station on Thursday.

Kaczynski and 95 other Polish dignitaries including the NATO country’s top military brass and central bank governor perished in the crash of the Russian-made Tupolev 154 jet in poor weather conditions in Smolensk, western Russia.

The delegation was en route to ceremonies marking 70 years since the massacre of thousands of Polish officers by Soviet secret police at the nearby Katyn forest during World War II.

“The first hypothesis is that of the mechanical malfunction of the aircraft. The second includes human error, both on the Russian and Polish side. The third is focused on actions by third persons, including a terrorist attack and the fourth regards flight organisation,” Rzepa explained.

Investigators have, however, “completely ruled out the use of any kind of conventional explosive material,” Rzepa added.

Polish military prosecutors are still waiting for Russian officials leading the investigation on site to forward documentation on the autopsies of the victims as well as eye-witness testimonies, he said.

Poland’s conservative opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party led by the late president’s twin, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, on Tuesday created a parliamentary group to probe the causes of the crash, saying it would take into consideration the possibility of both a criminal and a terrorist attack.

Initial findings from Russia’s crash investigation have pointed to pilot error, but conspiracy theories have flourished on pro-Law and Justice websites.

Earlier this month, Jaroslaw Kaczynski failed to replace his brother as head of state after losing in a run-off election against Bronislaw Komorowski of the governing liberal Civic Platform (PO).

Lawmakers from the PO and the left-wing opposition Social Democrats boycotted Tuesday’s founding session of the PiS parliamentary probe group.

“The goal of this group is simply to create myths that will serve as a political springboard ahead of the upcoming elections,” Civic Platform lawmaker Marek Biernacki told the rolling news channel TVN24.

Poles are due to vote in municipal elections later this year, before a parliamentary ballot in 2011.