Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria Kaczynska, and several officials were killed in a plane crash that occurred at 10:50am local time (2:30am EST) at a western Russian airport in Pechorsk, near Smolensk.
Kaczynski was traveling with the Polish delegation to Russia to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre during World War II. The flight originated in Warsaw, and it is thought that the plane may have hit some trees at the end of the runway while a landing was attempted in a heavy fog.The casualties could be particularly devastating to the country’s miliary:
“The entire top military brass, including the chief of defense and all the services, were on the plane,” said Tomas Valasek, of the Center for European Reform.
“If that is true, then you’re looking at a situation, in effect, of the decapitation of the military services.”
Kaczynski’s Law and Justice Party released a partial list of those killed:
There were no survivors, and 97 people were killed in the crash.