Poland publishes plane crash transcript

  • 1 June 2010
  • From the section World
The wreckage of the Polish presidential plane
Image caption Russia had handed over data recordings from the crash to the Poles

Poland has published the transcript of flight recorders from the plane crash that killed the Polish president and 95 others.

It includes multiple warnings from an on-board system for the plane to regain altitude just before the crash.

"Pull up, pull up... Terrain ahead," one of the warnings says. Cursing from the pilots was also recorded.

The plane crashed on 10 April at Smolensk in western Russia.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski and 95 other senior Poles died.

They were on their way to commemorate the 1940 Katyn massacre of more than 20,000 Poles by Soviet forces.

There was thick fog at the airport at the time.

In the aftermath of the disaster, there was speculation that passengers - possibly including the president - may have put pressure on the crew to land in Smolensk.

Polish officials said at the time that there was no evidence to substantiate such claims.

'We have a problem'

The transcript that was published on the Polish interior ministry website on Tuesday shows Russian air traffic controllers warning the pilots not to land 16 minutes before the crash.

"Thank you, if it's possible, we'll make an attempt, but if the weather won't be good we'll leave for a second round," the chief pilot is recorded as saying.

About 15 minutes before the crash, pilots told the Polish foreign ministry's diplomatic protocol chief - who was in the cockpit - that the plane was not currently able to land.

"Well then we have a problem," replied the official, Mariusz Kazana.

After a gap of 10 minutes, Mr Kazana told the pilots: "The president hasn't decided yet what we will do."

According to Reuters news agency, three minutes before the crash the transcript shows an unidentified person in the cockpit saying: "(S)he will be annoyed if..."

Investigators revealed last week that Poland's air force chief, Gen Andrzej Blasik, was one of two non-crew members in the cockpit of the plane before it crashed.

They said there was no evidence that Gen Blasik had pressured the pilots to land in bad weather.

Russian investigators handed the flight data recorders to their Polish colleagues on Monday.

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