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Polish Air Force Commander Was In Cockpit Before Presidential Plane Went Down

No Evidence Of Pilot Being Pressured To Attempt Landing

The commander of the Polish Air Force was in the cockpit of the plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski and other officials before it went down short of the runway in heavy fog in western Russia last month.

Polish envoy to the investigating committee Edmund Klich confirmed that General Andrzej Blasik was in the cockpit of the plane a few minutes before it crashed. Bloomberg News reports that Klich made the statement Monday night on the Polish private television channel TVN. He reportedly said that, while there was no direct pressure to land placed on the pilot, "everyone would feel pressure in such a situation."

Kaczynski, his wife, and many of his cabinet members and other high government officials were traveling to Russia for the 70th anniversary of the Katyn Massacre, in which 22,000 Polish POW's were killed by Josif Stalin's secret police in 1940. Investigators have determined that the left wing of the Tupolev TU-154 struck a birch tree on final approach and disintegrated in just a few seconds, killing all on board.

FMI: www.pansa.pl/index.php?lang=_eng

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