Russia rejects Polish report on plane crash

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - 22:20

Moscow: A Russian air crash investigation
on Tuesday dismissed a Polish report saying confusing guidance by
Russian air traffic controllers contributed to the 2010 crash
of a Polish presidential plane.

The chief of an Interstate Aviation Committee`s panel
that investigated the crash, Alexei Morozov, insisted at a
news conference that the controllers had given the crew
precise guidance.

He also maintained that the airport`s radar and lights
were functioning normally, contrary to Polish investigators`
assertions.

The accident on April 10, 2010, killed President Lech
Kaczynski and 95 other people, including the first lady and
dozens of senior officials. It was the worst Polish disaster
since World War II.

Morozov and other Russian experts were responding to
Friday`s Polish government report that said confusing and
erroneous guidance by Russian controllers at Smolensk airport
had contributed to the crash.

The plane crashed in heavy fog at a rudimentary airport
near the western city of Smolensk, 360 kilometers southwest of
Moscow.

Morozov reaffirmed his panel`s conclusion that the crash
occurred because the crew descended below a safe altitude in a
desperate attempt to land.

Polish investigators found that the Tu-154 plane was
flying about 60 meters lower than the pilots believed in the
moments before the plane clipped a tree and crashed.

The Polish commission said the Russian air traffic
controllers confirmed the plane was on the right course for
descent, information that made the crew continue in the false
belief it was making a proper approach.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - 22:20

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