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Explosion version in Kaczynski’s plane crash unconfirmed — investigators

January 11, 13:43 UTC+3

On January 10, the Polish government sub-commission reinvestigating the presidential jet crash near Smolensk claimed again that an explosion had occurred aboard the airliner

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© AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev

MOSCOW, January 11. /TASS/. The version of an explosion aboard Polish President Lech Kaczynski’s Tu-154 plane that crashed near Smolensk almost eight years ago was probed by Russia’s Investigative Committee but it found no confirmation, the investigators said on Thursday.

"We would like to stress that no one gives any data confirming these statements. Moreover, we want to remind you once again that the version of an explosion aboard the plane was checked by the Investigative Committee of Russia among priority versions but it found no confirmation," Russia’s investigative Committee said in response to journalists’ inquiries about the Polish commission’s statements on the investigation of the Kaczynski plane crash in 2010.

On January 10, the Polish government sub-commission reinvestigating the presidential jet crash near Smolensk claimed again that an explosion had occurred aboard the airliner. According to sub-commission spokeswoman Marta Palonek, international expert in air crash probes Frank Taylor said after examining the probe materials that the plane’s left wing had been destroyed as a result of an explosion aboard the Polish leader’s jet.

As the sub-commission spokeswoman claimed, "there were two sources of an explosion: in the wing and in the central landing gear," which was allegedly confirmed by the mechanism of the doors’ collision with the ground.

Besides, the tree, which the airliner hit, did not have any impact on the wing’s initial destruction, according to expert Taylor.

At a year-end news conference in December 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin again rejected the allegations of an explosion aboard Kaczynski’s plane.

"We are fed up with this bluff, just simply tired of it. It is nonsense, you are talking blatant nonsense," Putin said in reply to a question from a Polish journalist.

He also noted that the plane had taken off not from Moscow but rather from Warsaw. "If there were blasts on board, they had been planted there. Do you think it was Russian agents sneaking inside and planting explosives? If so, you’d better look at yourselves," he pointed out

Putin also said that both Polish and Russian experts had studied the causes of the plane crash and the explosion version had found no confirmation.

"They studied with the greatest accuracy everything that happened inside the plane," he said.

Putin urged Warsaw to treat the air crash as a tragedy and refrain from making any political conjectures that were complicating the Russian-Polish relations.

Kaszynski plane crash

A Tu-154M airliner carrying a top Polish delegation crashed near the city of Smolensk in west Russia on April 10, 2010, killing all 96 people on board, including Polish President Lech Kaszynski and many other senior military and political figures. The plane’s pilots made a decision to land despite poor visibility and the absence of a visual contact with the ground. The plane crashed just several meters away from the runway.

A Polish government commission for investigation of aviation accidents found that the crash had been caused by the plane’s descending below the minimum altitude at an excessive speed in the weather conditions that allowed no visual contact with the ground, as well as the crew’s failure to timely execute a go-around maneuver.

A report prepared by the commission also named the crew’s error and its failure to respond to TAWS (Terrain Awareness and Warning System) signals as the causes for the air crash, apart from the plane’s dive to an impermissibly low altitude.

However, Poland’s Law and Justice party led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the twin brother of the late president, did not agree with the commission’s conclusions. After winning the 2015 parliamentary elections, its members set up a new sub-commission on investigating air accidents to review the commission’s work.

Explosion theory

In April 2017, the sub-commission summarized its activities for the previous year, admitting that its members were unable to say when their mission would be completed. In addition, they also acknowledged that they had not yet figured out the causes of the plane crash.

At the same time, the sub-commission claimed that an explosion on board could have caused the crash. However, there are no expert studies or research to prove this allegation, as the Polish prosecutors have been repeatedly saying.

Meanwhile, Maciej Lasek, the former head of the Polish government commission for investigation of aviation accidents, who participated in the activities aimed at establishing the cause of the crash in 2010-2011, said that the explosion theory was just propaganda and "fantasies of people who have never investigated aviation incidents."

Polish astrophysicist Pawel Artymowicz also reiterated that the explosion theory was groundless. "Experts have already figured out that there was no explosion. We know it from a great number of sources, including the voice recorder. This device could not have failed to record the sound of an explosion and the blast wave," he said.

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