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Wed, Jan 19, 2011

Russian Government Considers Polish Tu-154 Case Closed

Places Blame On Decision-Making By The Pilot

The Russian government says that the investigation into the accident last April which killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and 94 others is complete. They lay the blame for the accident on the pilot, who did not divert to an airport with better weather.

The Voice of Russia reports that the state MAK commission inquiry is completed, and that the the cause of the accident was the decision on the part of the flight crew to attempt a landing at Smolensk despite warnings from air traffic controllers about poor visibility. They also cite the presence in the cockpit of Polish Air Force Commander-in-Chief Andrzej Blasik, who was among those fatally injured in the accident. The Russian investigators found alcohol in his blood considered to be just above the limits for drinking and driving in Europe, and said his presence on the flight deck pressured the pilots to attempt the landing.

The Polish government has rejected the findings of the Russians. The BBC reported recently that the Polish government holds that, if the weather was that bad, the Russian air traffic controllers should have closed the airport, which would have forced a diversion to the alternate. Polish authorities have said that the Russian report is "unacceptable." A former Polish prime minister said that the Russians placed all the blame on the Polish crew "without any proof," and another member of the Polish Parliament said that the Russian air traffic controllers acted "unprofessionally."



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