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article imagePolish president reported among dead in Russian plane crash

By Lynn Herrmann     Apr 10, 2010 in Politics
Smolensk - A plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski has crashed near the Russian airport in the western city of Smolensk, officials have reported.
According to BBC, Mr. Kaczynski’s planned visit to Smolensk was to mark the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, a mass murder where Soviet troops killed thousands of Polish POW’s.
The plane crash occurred at 0656 GMT, 1056 Moscow time, according to Itar-Tass news agency. Russian media reports 87 people were killed in the crash, including President Kaczynski’s wife, Maria.
The plane was apparently attempting to land in heavy fog when it hit treetops and crashed. Smolensk’s regional governor, Sergei Antufiev told Russian TV there were no survivors. "As it was preparing for landing, the Polish president's aircraft did not make it to the landing strip," he said.
"We are clarifying how many people there were in the [Polish] delegation. According to preliminary reports, 85 members of the delegation and the crew."
Among the victims were Poland's army chief, central bank governor, MPs and leading historians.
“It is a damned place. It sends shivers down my spine. First the flower of the Second Polish Republic is murdered in the forests around Smolensk, now the intellectual elite of the Third Polish Republic die in this tragic plane crash when approaching Smolensk airport,” former president Aleksander Kwas’niewski told TVN24, according to the New York Times.
Identities of other victims have yet to be released.
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