Pilot error was the main cause of the plane crash that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski and 95 other top officials in April 2010, a Russian investigative team said in a new report released on Wednesday.
Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) head Tatyana Anodina listed a number of mistakes that could have contributed to the air disaster, including the crew's decision not to land at another airport despite being informed of unfavorable weather conditions at their destination.
The crashed jet was in good working order, she stressed.
"Before departing from Warsaw, the plane was in a good working condition...There was no fire, explosion or damage during the flight," Anodina said.
Other errors included a dangerous drop in altitude despite poor visibility, a lack of correct reactions from the pilot despite warnings issued by the automatic Terrain Awareness and Warning System, descending at a speed double the safe rate, "less than satisfactory collaboration between the crew" and their insufficient command of Russian.
While they had to speak Russian with air controllers, "the commission did not receive any documents confirming that the crewmembers were proficient in Russian," MAK said.
A strong contributory factor to the crash was the presence of the Polish Air Force chief in the cockpit, which had a "psychological impact" on the crew, the report said.
"The presence in the cockpit of the Polish Air Force chief [Gen. Andrzej Blasik] and the [Foreign Ministry's] chief protocol officer, and the expected negative reaction of the main passenger... had a psychological impact on the crewmembers and influenced their decision to land in any conditions," Anodina said.
There were also serious flaws over crew preparation and flight control procedure, she added.
The Tu-154 that crashed near the western Russian city of Smolensk was carrying Kaczynski and other senior Polish officials to a ceremony to honor Polish officers killed by Soviet secret police in 1940.
The report was first presented on October 20, and blamed pilot error for the crash in heavy fog, but in mid-December Poland sent it back to Moscow with 150 comments and queries. Prime Minister Tusk said that parts of the report were "unacceptable."
Polish experts said they were dissatisfied with the documents provided by Russia. Most of the complaints concerned a lack of technical details about the Severny airport in Smolensk at which the plane was due to land.
MOSCOW, January 12 (RIA Novosti)