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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Polish president, 96 others killed in jet crash

Crash occurred in dense fog; pilot ignored directions to land elsewhere

Presidential plane carrying close to 100, including many government officials, goes down in Russia.
Video: Fog may have been to blame
After the tragedy: What's next for Poland?

US President Barack Obama offered condolences to Poland Saturday, mourning the "devastating" death of President Lech Kaczynski and dozens of other top officials in a fiery plane crash.
Obama said he called Prime Minister Donald Tusk to express his and his wife Michelle's "deepest condolences to the people of Poland on the tragic deaths this morning of President Lech Kaczynski, First Lady Maria Kaczynski and all who were traveling with them to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre."
Obama described the loss as "devastating to Poland, to the United States and to the world."
The plane carrying much of the country's military and state elite crashed in thick fog in western Russia on Saturday killing all 96 people on board.
The aging Russian jet was taking Kaczynski and his wife, the military chief of staff and other senior military officers, the central bank governor, deputy foreign minister, members of parliament and other senior officials to a ceremony for thousands of Polish troops massacred by Russian forces in World War II.
Obama said those killed in the crash as "many of Poland's most distinguished civilian and military leaders who have helped to shape Poland's inspiring democratic transformation."
"Today, there are heavy hearts across America. The United States cherishes its deep and abiding bonds with the people of Poland," he said in a statement, adding that Americans "join all the people of Poland in mourning" those who died.
He hailed Kaczynski as "a distinguished statesman who played a key role in the Solidarity movement, and he was widely admired in the United States as a leader dedicated to advancing freedom and human dignity."


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