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Russia not to blame for Smolensk plane crash - Polish expert

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Russian traffic controllers are not to blame for the April crash of a Polish presidential plane in western Russia, a leading expert working on a probe of the tragedy said.

Russian traffic controllers are not to blame for the April crash of a Polish presidential plane in western Russia, a leading expert working on a probe of the tragedy said.

A Polish commission investigating the Smolensk air crash said on Tuesday that Russian air traffic controllers were under pressure, made a number of errors and failed to warn the Polish pilots that they were off course.

"I'm convinced that our [Polish] side is to blame for most causes of the Smolensk disaster. Any faults on the part of Russia should be ruled out," Poland's special envoy to the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC), Edmund Klich, said in an interview with Poland's TVN24 channel.

The Polish expert said the air disaster, which claimed the lives of 96 people, was caused by "faults in the pilots' training."

"A good crew of a serviceable plane - and we have no information that the Tu-154 experienced technical problems - just won't perform the landing in that manner. Even if that was what the air traffic control instructed them to do. They must know their aircraft's course," he said.

The Polish expert also said the pilots were aware of bad weather conditions in Smolensk.

Then Polish president Lech Kaczynski and many Polish officials were killed when a Tu-154 plane crashed upon landing near the western Russian city of Smolensk on April 10, 2010.

The CIS International Aviation Committee (MAK) released a report on January 12 citing pilot error as the main cause of the tragedy, which occurred when the plane hit trees while attempting to land in thick fog.

Polish experts and officials have criticized the report for lacking sufficient evidence and stressed, in particular, the absence of the conversations between the pilots and air traffic control.

 

WARSAW, January 21 (RIA Novosti)

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