A deadly plane crash claimed the lives of the Polish president and 18 MPs
Wacky theories about the cause of a fatal plane crash that claimed the lives of Poland’s president as well as 18 MPs refuse to go away – although investigators insist there is no no foul play.
On April 10, 2010, a Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft operating Polish Air Force Flight 101 carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski and 95 other people crashed into the Smolensk military airfield in western Russia, killing everyone on board, in what is described as Poland’s worst national disaster. since World War II.
The list of casualties included the country’s commanders of its land, sea, air and special forces, the head of its central bank and several other dignitaries.
The officials were on their way from Warsaw to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, in which some 22,000 Polish intellectuals and prisoners of war were murdered on Soviet orders in 1940.
The pilots were attempting to land at Smolensk North Airport – a former military airbase – in thick fog, with visibility reduced to around 1,600 feet (500 m).
The aircraft descended well below the normal approach path until its left wing struck a tree and crashed to the ground, coming to rest in a wooded area a short distance from the runway.
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Official Polish and Russian investigations found no technical faults with the aircraft, concluding that the crash was an accident caused by human error and heavy fog over Smolensk.
However, the Law and Justice (PiS) party – led by the late president’s twin brother, Jaroslaw Kaczynski – did not accept the findings and claimed the accident was a political assassination.
In 2012, then-PiS spokesman Adam Hofman said, “The disaster must be clarified by politics, because it happened because of politics.
“We say clearly: we have to win the elections to explain the case of Smolensk. And to win elections, we have to do politics.
According to an Ipsos survey conducted in February 2020 – almost a decade after the tragic incident – 26% of Poles believe the accident was a murder, while 59% believe it was an accident.
Over the years, there have been several conspiracy theories regarding the cause of the crash.
Some claim it was an act of war against Poland or an elaborate coup attempt, possibly orchestrated by Russia.
The absurdity of some of these theories ranges from claims that the fog around the airport was artificially produced, to doctored bodies of victims during fake autopsies, to the idea that explosive devices were planted on board. from the plane.
When the PiS returned to power in 2015, it controversially dug up the bodies of those who died in the crash – sometimes against the express wishes of the families – in order to prove the crash was no accident.
Despite conspiracy theories and attempts to uncover the ‘truth’, 12 years later it is widely believed that the cause of the accident was in fact fog accompanied by human error.