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Merkel shocked by Polish president's death

AFP/The Local · 10 Apr 2010, 13:18

Published: 10 Apr 2010 13:18 GMT+02:00

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"I am deeply shocked by the plane accident and the death of the Polish president," she told journalists on arriving at the Bundeswehr headquarters in Potsdam, outside Berlin.

Kaczynski, 60, was killed when the Tupelev 154 jet carrying him crashed neared Smolensk airport, about 275 miles west of Moscow.

It is believed the plane hit trees as it was approaching the runway in thick fog at around 11 am local time Saturday and then caught fire. Pictures from the scene showed charred parts of the airplane strewn across a wooded area.

The regional governor told Russian television there were no survivors. Polish officials have also said that everyone on board the plane was killed.

The number of people reported to have been on board the aircraft varies. Polish authorities put the figure at 88, while Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations said 96 had died and Russia's Investigative Committee said the total was 132.

Along with President Kaczynski and his wife, several prominent military and civilian leaders died, including the army chief of staff, Gen. Franciszek Gagor, National Bank President Slawomir Skrzypek and Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer.

They were all flying to a Katyn for a commemoration of Russian and Polish victims of Soviet leader Josef Stalin.

Story continues below…

In Warsaw, Prime Minister Donald Tusk called an extraordinary meeting of his cabinet and the national flag was lowered to half-staff at the presidential palace. In the case of a Polish president's death, the speaker of the lower chamber of parliament takes over as head of state.

Poland's president is commander-in-chief of its armed forces but the position's domestic duties are chiefly symbolic.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

20:45 April 10, 2010 by KyleHawkins
1) It is a tragedy when people die in a plane crash.

2) The man was a right wing, Catholic fringe, homophobic, anti-EU, anti-German, buffoon. Lets not make him out to be some sort of martyr.
21:50 April 10, 2010 by wenddiver
I can't believe they were still flying Russian planes from the cold war. How old was that baby.
22:30 April 10, 2010 by biker hotel harz
'German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday she was deeply shocked by the plane crash which cost the life of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and many top officials in Russia.'

This paragraph infers that many top officials that were Russian were killed in the incident.

It should read:

......... by the plane crash in Russia which cost the lives of blah blah blah

Please sort out your subs or send the copy to me please!

RIP all those that perished
00:17 April 11, 2010 by kkelovsky
You German never learn from history. All top ati-Russian politicians in Poland are killed. Kaczynski was not anti-German or anti-EU and your intelligence should also protect him. Do you really want Russians in Poland, just 50 km from Berlin??
00:42 April 11, 2010 by AdamAusPolen
Thx Frau Merkel for Your words. Thx for Germany and many others countries. Thx for people. This is a very hard day for us.


I lost 11 familiars and 4 friends. Among others the young girl which first said me in 2007 year that EURO 2012 will be in Poland (30 sekunds after that question said Michael Platini) and young man which take me to school in Bieslan (after the bomb outrage). Thx TL.
01:10 April 11, 2010 by Mh0926
Really sad, frustrated, and also shocked by the news.

Hope Poland, a peace-loving country, where I love to live and where my good friends are staying, will continue this tough journey safely and peacefully.

May God bless Poland.
01:59 April 11, 2010 by wood artist
These were leaders, freely elected or responsibly appointed, and their politics should not be subject to examination here. They died representing their country, and, unfortunately, while on a mission to help heal an old wound.

Regardless of anything else, let's all just be sorry that people have died. We don't have to agree with their viewpoints, but free people are allowed that disagreement. I'm sorry this happened, and my thoughts go out to all of Poland, all of Europe, and their families and friends.

I'm sorry.

11:31 April 11, 2010 by LMB222
kkelovsky, think before you write. Kaczynski was unpopular because he was such a bitter guy. He was commonly called "little guy", not only because of his height.

Do you remember the numerous little scandals he caused? Like when Spiegel called him a potato, after which he became "seriously ill" and, poor guy, could not go to Germany to meet Merkel? That must have been a painful diarrhea.

He was *always* like that. Always something would bother his little big ego.

Therefore I am sorry to say that, but for us he is not a big loss in the political sense. We of course feel sorrow for the huge human loss, but we are happy some guys are off the political scene. That's to get the facts straight.

wenddiver: the plane was much younger than a Boeing 767.
12:27 April 11, 2010 by kkelovsky
Thanks LMB, m happy we both agree thinking is useful. However you have missed something called 'logic'. K was one of the most popular poloiticians in Poland, that's why he became president. I dont remember any of scandals you try to create. Potatoe, diarrhea, little guy, ego??? man you should write sf books :-) Pro-Russian Tusk is more dangerous for Germany than K. We remember Russians in Berlin in 1945, they stayed there for 50 years. We dont want them there any more. They also may take Mr Tusk with them as well. God bless Germany and Poland!
14:51 April 11, 2010 by cocovelvet
May their souls rest in peace..... its indeed a tragedy.
12:13 April 12, 2010 by Prufrock2010
With Putin heading the investigation, I'm sure they will discover the cause of this accident. And pigs will fly.
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