posted on: Wednesday April 14, 2010
Sarah Laperriere ’11 / World Editor
Polish citizens mourn the death of Polish President Lech Zaczynski and many other Polish leading military and civilian officials who died Saturday April 10, 2010 in a tragic plane crash near Smolensk in western Russia. Zaczynski was visiting Russia to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the massacre of Polish prisoners by Joseph Stalin’s secret police in a forest not far from the crash site. According to The Washington Post, Russian investigators have suggested that the crash which killed over 90 people can be blamed on human error on the part of the pilot rather than on technical problems with the plane.The plane had been trying to land in Russia on Saturday when it was advised by air traffic control to land elsewhere due to dense fog in the area. It has been speculated that the pilot, Captain Arkadiusz Protasiuk was asked by someone on board the plane to land in Smolensk rather than divert to an airport in Minsk or Moscow so as not to be late for the ceremony in Katyn forest, reports The Washington Post. According to The Washington Post, after decoding the cockpit recorders Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov stated in a press release that, “It has been confirmed that the crew in a timely manner received a warning about adverse weather conditions and a recommendation to land at another airport.”Despite both the flight controller and flight supervisor concluding “that there were no conditions for landing,”according to The Washington Post, the pilot proceeded to try and land with an instrument landing system, ILS, which the airport was not equipped with.