The Fog Surrounding Katyń 05/05/2010

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A look at the investigation into the Smolensk air crash.

In the aftermath of the presidential plane crash at Smolensk, there have been comparisons to many disasters on the world stage. According to the Aviation Safety Network, there have only been a handful of crashes in the history of air travel involving the deaths of presidents or national leaders, but none can be comparable in scale to the 10 April catastrophe at Smolensk, in which 88 dignitaries perished. A range of hypotheses and speculation continues to circulate in the Polish media as to what really happened on that fateful Saturday morning. Many sources imply that blame should be put on the pilot, who reportedly ignored warnings from air traffic control and attempted to land in dense fog - the weather has repeatedly been described as the decisive factor in the catastrophe. Initial reports said the pilot made three or four approaches before the collision, but these statements were later found to be false. The jet crashed just short of the runway, hitting the tops of trees while descending below the glide slope on the final approach to land. The aircraft was completely destroyed and no one survived the initial impact.

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