The cause of ex-Polish President Lech Kaczyński’s plane crash near Smolensk was an explosion, said the chairman of the subcommittee on the re-investigation of the Smolensk disaster Antoni Macierewicz.
He confirmed once again that the crash of the Tu-154M in April 2010 was not caused by a pilot error or the actions of other people on board. Doing so, he referenced the British Forensic Explosives Laboratory experts who had analyzed more than 200 samples given to them by the Polish National Prosecutor's Office.
According to Macierewicz, in Britain, it was established that TNT was used in the explosion, traces of which were found in the rubble.
“It was not the pilots or anyone on board whose actions resulted in the tragedy, but an explosion. Today, thanks to the British, we know that. We have not defined the nature of the explosion,” he was quoted as saying on Polish Radio.
The announcement was made on the basis of previous research and the conclusions of the sub-commission, Macierewicz added.
The Tu-154 crashed while coming in to land at the North Smolensk airport, leading to the deaths of 96 people: Polish President Lech Kaczyński, the crew, and members of the official delegation traveling to an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre.
In January 2011, the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC),, published a report on the crash investigation, according to which the pilots were responsible for the catastrophe, since they rejected the advice to go to an alternate airport, despite the unfavorable weather conditions. The inadequate qualification of the crew is stated to be the indirect cause of the crash.
A commission led by former Polish defense minister Antoni Macierewicz refuted the theory that the pilots were to blame. According to a report presented in the Polish Sejm, there was an explosion in the plane’s left wing at an altitude of roughly 900 meters. Just before the landing strip, there were several emergencies, and then, while the plane was still in the air, an explosion in the aircraft’s fuselage. Furthermore, the commission determined that the operators in Smolensk gave the Polish Tu-154 crew incorrect information for landing.
The commission also ruled out the possibility that Polish Air Force General Andrzej Błasik was in the cockpit during the landing approach.
Macierewicz said that the technical report, which, according to him, does not yet reflect the official stance of the Polish government, has been given to the Prosecutor General’s Office, which is conducting its own investigation into the aviation catastrophe.
Russia has been unwilling to send the aircraft fragments and other physical evidence to Poland, claiming that the Russian investigation is not yet complete.