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April 10th, 2010
08:45 AM ET

Polish president killed in plane crash

Polish President Lech Kaczynski was 60.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski was 60.

CNN

Polish President Lech Kaczynski was killed early Saturday when the plane he was traveling in with his wife and a Polish delegation crashed at a western Russian airport, according to the Russian regional governor.

"There are no survivors," said Smolensk Governor Sergey Antufyev, according to his spokesman.

Ninety-seven people died in the plane crash, a Polish Foreign Ministry official told CNN.

Polish government officials were to hold an emergency meeting Saturday. At present, Prime Minister Donald Tusk is in charge of the government and the chief of parliament has taken over duties as president.

President Kaczynski, 60, had been traveling with a Polish delegation to Russia for the 70th anniversary of the massacre of Polish prisoners of war in the village of Katyn. Some 20,000 Polish officers were executed there during World War II.

The plane was approaching the airport at Smolensk, Russia - just a few miles east of Katyn - and probably hit some trees at the end of the runway, Paszkowski said.

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soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Trudy Johnson

    Each person on that plane had certain expectations of this day, as did we all, never dreaming that it would end in tragedy. Life is so incredibly fragile and fleeting. Accompanying the delegation were families of those who were executed in the village of Katyn, also coming to pay their respects. Now it is they and those who accompanied them that we mourn today as well. I hope that each person who lost their life today on that plane crash is honored for the deeds they did in this lifetime and for the unique impact they made on our world.

    April 10, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  2. Kirsten Verdi

    You just can't help but wonder.
    I hope it was an accident and nothing more.
    My condolences to all affected.

    April 10, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  3. Gloria, Brooklyn, NY

    I wish to express my sorrow to the Polish people of Poland of their loss. May God be with all of them.

    April 10, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  4. Patrycja

    I am from Poland .. I can't believe that something like this happen ..I do not know what to say ..

    April 10, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  5. Sara

    Ps. Um thanks for sharing!

    April 10, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  6. Sara

    I am from Poland, when I woke up (9.30am) and my dad told me about this... i coulndt believe it!!
    black day for Poland....
    😦

    April 10, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  7. Patricia

    As an American of Polish descent I am particularly saddened at this loss.

    April 10, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  8. Cheryl - Letchworth UK

    Prayers and sympathies goes out to all the families, friends, loved ones and countries affected by this.

    April 10, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  9. Charles Jones

    Very unfortunate for leadership to die suddenly without a trace of either their motion which only is a guess that some could make. Its difficult to think how overloaded a plane can become if no calculations are done to figure a safe flight before tragedy occurs. My God Rest Their Souls, their works are complete to that end but the tasks linger on for Poland and the world.

    April 10, 2010 at 7:59 am |