Passengers Were in Cockpit of Polish Plane

Bolsters theory that the pilots were pressured to land
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2010 4:42 PM CDT
Passengers Were in Cockpit of Polish Plane
Soldiers of the military Guard of Honour stand at attention as family members pay their respects at Okecie airport in Warsaw, Poland Friday, April 23, 2010.   (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Passengers were in the cockpit of the plane carrying the Polish president before it crashed, say Russian investigators. The flight recorder has revealed the presence of one person who has been identified (the identity hasn't been made public), and at least one other, who "will be identified by the Polish side," an official from the Russian aviation authority tells the Guardian. The disclosure supports a theory that high-ranking officials forced the pilots to attempt a landing despite heavy fog.

The crash has puzzled officials because the flight crew had been told about the bad weather and instructed to divert to Moscow or Minsk if conditions remained poor. Poland's former prime minister has said he thinks President Lech Kaczynski himself probably pressured the pilots to get him to Smolensk for a WWII ceremony.
(More Kaczynski stories.)

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