Crash inquiry: was pilot ordered to land?

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Crash inquiry: was pilot ordered to land?

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Accident investigators continue to sift through the wreckage at the scene of the crash which killed the Polish president in the search for clues as to how and why it happened.

The pilot is said to have ignored several orders
from air traffic control to abort any attempted landing and divert to another airport.

Back in 2008 when Georgia fought a brief war with Russia, Kaczynski was on his way to Tbilisi to support the Georgian president.

But, when air traffic controllers there ordered the plane to turn back because it was too dangerous the Polish president – renowned for his intransigence – ordered the plane to land anyway.

The question investigators have to answer is, did a similar thing happen on board the presidential Tu 154 as it approached Smolensk?

The jet took off from Warsaw on the short journey to western Russia for a memorial ceremony at Katyn where hundreds of dignataries were already waiting for the service to begin when the presidential plane was due to land at the nearby airbase in Smolensk.

Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has taken charge of the crash inquiry which is attempting to establish if the pilot was under pressure to land.

The black box flight recorder, say officials, shows no sign of technical or mechanical failure.