Poland’s President, Top Leaders Die in Russian Plane Crash
Posted on Apr 10, 2010
Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and nearly half of the country’s top leadership perished in a Saturday morning plane crash in foggy western Russia. —JCL
Poland has suffered its worst political disaster since the second world war after its president, Lech Kaczynski, and dozens of top government officials were killed when their plane crashed in thick fog in western Russia this morning.
At least 97 people died when the Tupulov Tu-154 aircraft clipped some trees on its approach to Smolensk airport. It then broke up, killing everyone on board. Russian TV showed pictures of the upended wing and smouldering fuselage.
The crash wiped out almost half of Poland’s leadership. Those killed included Kaczynski’s wife Maria, the army chief of staff, the head of the national bank, Poland’s deputy foreign minister, three members of parliament, and at least two presidential aides, the Polish foreign ministry said. Rescuers found several unidentified bodies and the plane’s black box.
Lech Kaczynski’s death stunned Poland, where he and a twin brother had dominated the political order for a decade.