Kaczynski crash: Pilots poorly trained

2011-07-29 18:03

kalahari.com

Warsaw - The pilots of Poland's presidential jet made a series of errors and were poorly prepared, a damning Polish report into the 2010 crash that killed then head of state Lech Kaczynski said on Friday.

The government report admitted most of the blame for the disaster in which all 96 people on board were killed lay with Poland, but it also listed a number of shortcomings by Russia, where the plane went down in April last year.

In an indictment of the Polish armed forces, it said the badly trained crew approached too low and too fast in poor weather as they prepared to land at the western Russian town of Smolensk.

"The immediate cause of the accident was the descent below the minimum descent altitude at an excessive rate of descent in weather conditions which prevented visual contact with the ground," the report said.

"The aircraft commander, co-pilot, and navigator had been trained hastily, haphazardly, and in violation of the respective training regulations," the 328-page report drawn up by an official inquiry commission said.

Multiple shortcomings

The report describes at length how the flight, in which Kaczynski's wife and many other high-profile Poles died, was badly prepared.

The military crew had not received appropriate training, the navigator's Russian was weak, and the meteorological information was incomplete, the report said.

The report also mentions the "presence of third parties in the cockpit, lack of the crew's effective cooperation, accepting too many responsibilities by the aircraft commander, insufficient level of the crew's training".

The crew was put together the day before and only met very briefly to prepare for the flight as passengers were already boarding.

"The crew did not meet the criteria for fully trained pilots who are competent in performing the duties required on their jobs," said the report.

However there was no evidence of direct pressure on the pilot to land despite the bad weather conditions, it said.

Russia blames Poland entirely

In its list of recommendations, the report urged the air force to overhaul its training methods and apply tougher security measures.

In its own crash report released in January, Russia had put the blame squarely on the Poles for the crash, arguing that the pilots brought about the tragedy by insisting on landing in fog.

But the Polish report found some shortcomings on the Russian side too, emphasising that the lighting at Smolensk North airport was inadequate, as were instructions given by Russian air traffic controllers.

Russia’s faults

"The condition of the lighting system was incompatible with the specifications required of visual navaids," the report said.

The government commission's findings also said that the terrain immediately ahead of the runway "was overgrown with trees which were taller than the permissible height of terrain obstacles in that area”.

The Russian report had led to blame-trading between Warsaw and Moscow, with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk faulting the Russian findings.

Poland's conservative Law and Justice party - led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the late president's twin brother - has accused Tusk's centre-right government of failing to take Russia to task.

A Law and Justice-run parliamentary commission is also probing the crash.

Last month, the commission's leader, Antoni Macierewicz, blamed Russia squarely, claiming it had forged the testimony of Smolensk's air traffic controllers, who he alleged had misled the pilots.

Adding an extra layer of sensitivity to the wrangling is the fact that the delegation had been bound for a memorial ceremony in Katyn, near Smolensk, for thousands of Polish army officers slain by the Soviet secret police in 1940, a massacre denied by the Kremlin until 1990.

- SAPA
Read more on:    lech kaczynski  |  poland  |  russia  |  air travel
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

BASE jump off the world’s tallest building!

Watch as two guys jump off the world's tallest building!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Stand up paddler rides over shark!
Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!
Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Pushing too hard and doing too much may have left you feeling drained and overwhelmed. You may need time out to recharge and reset...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.