Polish President Lech Kaczynski died today when a plane carrying 97 people crashed in thick fog on its approach to the Russian Smolensk airport on Saturday, killing everyone on board, officials said.The governor of the Smolensk region, where the crash took place about 11 a.m., said no one survived.
“The Polish presidential plane did not make it to the runway while landing. Tentative findings indicate that it hit the treetops and fell apart,” Sergei Anufriev said on state news channel Rossiya-24.
Television pictures showed the burning fuselage and fragments of the plane scattered in a forest. The crash occurred about 1.3 miles from the airport.Officials did not immediately have information on the identities of the dead. A spokeswoman for the emergency management ministry said on Russian television that the plane, a Tupolev 154, crashed as it was landing in Smolensk.
Said to be on board the plane with the president and his wife were the army chief of staff, the navy chief commander, and heads of the air and land forces. Also killed were the national bank president, deputy foreign minister, army chaplain, head of the National Security Office, deputy parliament speaker, Olympic Committee head, civil rights commissioner and multiple presidential aides and lawmakers, the Polish foreign ministry said.
This loss, while a devastating tragedy, should not affect daily lives or the government as most of the main ministry leaders were not aboard the plane.