Saturday, April 10, 2010

Plane Crash

The Katyn Anniversary just got a bit more tragic.

I just received a text message mentioning a "plane catastrophe." Not knowing what it was, I did a preliminary sweep of some news aggregates, and discovered that the President of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, and an entire Polish delegation may have perished in a plane crash near Smolensk.

They were flying to Smolensk to honor the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre.
It seems that there were a number of VIPs, including the Kaczynskis (husband and wife), the governor of the central bank, the last President of Poland in Exile (Ryszard Kaczorowski), and the army chief of staff. The Tu-154 (another victory for Russian aerospace) carrying the President and his entourage crashed while approaching to land at Smolensk Airport. It seems the plane hit the tops of the trees while trying to land in foggy weather and disintegrated. Preliminary reports said that 130 people could have perished in the crash out of 132 passengers, but hopes for any survivors are slim. Recent reports put the toll at 97, with there being no survivors.

The reaction in Poland is sure to be one of mourning and probably a bit of anger. The people haven't forgotten Sikorski's crash near Gibraltar, and I bet a great deal of them will think Russia had a hand in this as well. It's strange, since I have a few students who despised Kaczynski, but nationalist feelings will overwhelm any sense of hard feelings toward him, and the anger will most likely be directed at Russia. Meanwhile, I'm not too sure how this tragedy will affect the everyday operations of the country (will it be like when JFK was shot?)


Anonymous said...

I for one did not liked Kaczyński as President, but nobody wished him sth like that Also there were almost 100 people there, many important people for Poland, everybody was important to their families. Big tragedy.

There were many warnings about the condition of planes the Polish government fly. It was ignored, probably because politicians didn't wanted to buy such "luxuries" in the face of crisis - it would result in bad PR.

I don't know if this was technical problem, or error of the pilot, but they all shouldn't fly in one plane. I hope this will teach us something.

About conspiration theories - there will be investigation, but we probably won't know the truth anyway.

No matter what, the Poland will prevail.

PolishMeKnob said...

I'm sure no one actually wished this too happen, I was just pointing out that some students did actually say things wishing him ill; however, I think it was just the usual rash thing people say in the heat of the moment during a political debate.

Apparently, this plane was completely overhauled with new engines, avionics, and interior in Samara, Russia. I was quite surprised that they were all flying in one plane as well, but they said that budget concerns restricted their ability to buy new planes. I guess they were just trying to be fiscally conservative.

It's a huge tragedy for Poland (especially for the Polish Government.) A lot of social and culturally important persons were lost.

Apparently, Putin himself will be heading the investigation.