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Polish expert rejects claims fragments of Lech Kaczynski jet recordings were cut out

September 15, 20:43 UTC+3 WARSAW
On April 10, 2010, the TU-154M government plane crashed with an official Polish delegation led by then President Lech Kaczynski onboard
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© Maxim Shemetov/TASS, archive

WARSAW, September 16. /TASS/. There was no cutting-out of fragmets from the records on the flight recorders of President Lech Kaczynski's Tupolev-154M jet that crashed near Smolensk on April 10, 2010, the head of the Polish state investigative committee for air accidents, Maciej Lasek said in an exclusive interview with TASS as he commented on the conclusions of a subcommission, which the Polish Defense Ministry organized for a revision of findings by the initial investigation.

The subcommission made public the first results of its work at a news conference on Thursday.

"There are no fragements that were cut out from the recording of the cockpit conversations," Maciej said. "We based our conclusions on the same materials that had undergone decoding by the Russian Inteterstate Aviation Committee."

"These recordings are identical and the fact was confirmed by a group of experts from the Attorney's Office," he said. "There were no manipulations."

The conclusions aired by the subcommission on Thursday resulted from a shortage of knowledge and experience of its members, Maciej said. "Neither members of the (initial) commission nor the attorneys found any traces of manipulations with the recordings."

"The main problem of this group is none of its members have ever investigated air accidents," he indicated. "One is only left to regret that people without any experience were selected for this subcommission."

"It didn't present any new facts today that could possibly redefine the cause of the crash established by the Miller commission (Jerzy Milller chaired the initial investigative commission)," Maciej said.

He stressed normal performance of the jet's engines through to the very end of the disaster flight and said the signals on equipment failure had appeared only after the jet's collision with a birch-tree, the loss of a fragment of a wing and destruction of the hydraulic system.

Earlier on Thursday, the new subcommission in charge of reinvestigating the April 10, 2010 tragedy near Smolensk made public the results of the first six months of its work and said the initial materials on the tragedy had been forged.

Subcommission members claim, among other things, that several seconds of a recording on the jet's flight recorders, which featured important information of the last moments of the flight were cut out. They surmise that exactly these seconds contained signals on the Tupolev-154M's breakdown.

In their theory, the latter signals should prop up their hypothesis suggesting the jet began to fall apart before collision with the trees.

The crash of the Tupolev-154M servicing the flights of Polish top state officials that occurred a few hundred meters away from the runway of the Northern airdrome in Smolensk on April 10, 2010, claimed the lives of all the 96 people aboard, including President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and a host of Polish military and civilian officials. Six years after the tragic accident, both Polish attorneys and their Russian counterparts continue the investigations.

The Polish state investigative committee for air accidents drew a conclusion in 2011 that the lowering of the jet below the minimal admissible altitude at an overly high speed in the weather conditions not allowing a visual contact with the land and a late start of the go-around flight maneuver had become the causes of the crash.

A report it published fifteen months after the tragedy added a few other causes, including the errors made by the crew and the fact the pilots had ignored the signals emitted by the Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) that prevents a collision with the ground known as a 'controlled flight into terrain'.

The party led by Lech Kaczynski's brother Jaroslaw, Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc (Law and Justice), disagreed with the conclusions. Following arrival at power upon the results of a parliamentary election last October its activists launched a procedure for revision of the findings of the Jerzy Miller commission.

They formed a new commission for investigating air accidents.

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