Non-crew members present in Polish President's aircraft

Non-crew members present in Polish President's aircraft

"It has been established that non-crew members were in the cockpit," Chairperson of CIS Interstate Aviation Committee Tatyana Anodina today announced.

A Soviet-made Tu-154 aircraft crashed on April 10 when it attempted to land in thick fog, killing all 96 people on board, including President Lech Kaczynski and other top state officials.She said the voice of one person was identified while the others are being identified by Polish officials.

Anodina did not specify the number of people in the cockpit or their identities.
The Interstate Aviation Committee said Russian controllers had repeatedly warned the crew of Polish president plane of bad weather conditions and landing should be avoided.
"The lead controller warned the crew twice about fog at the airport, visibility of 400 meters, and that landing is impossible," a probe expert said.

Poland is carrying out its own parallel probe into the crash in which the country's top military and political elite was killed.Investigators still did not offer concrete conclusions about the cause of the crash more than five weeks after the tragedy, however they said an act of terror, technical failure or an explosion have all been ruled out.

"The air traffic controller at Smolensk Severny airport... twice warned the crew that there was fog at the airport, visibility was 400 metres (440 yards) and the conditions were not present to receive the plane," said Alexei Morozov, head of the committee's technical commission.

The crew of the Tu-154 also received information, 16 minutes before the crash, from a crew of a Polish air force Yak-40 which landed successfully earlier in the day that visibility was 400 metres.

Then, "Four minutes before the crash, the crew of the Yak-40 informed the crew of the Tu-154 that they evaluated the visibility at 200 metres," Morozov said.Anodina said the technical commission had established that the crash was not the result of an act of terror or technical failure.

"There was not an act of terror, an explosion, a fire on board or a failure of aviation equipment. The engines worked until the collision with the earth," she said.