Poland remembers air crash dead

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Poland remembers air crash dead

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Several thousand mourners have gathered in Warsaw for a memorial service for the 96 victims of last week’s tragic air crash in western Russia.

President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria and several members of Poland’s political and miltary elite perished in the accident.

The service is taking place in Pilsudski Square, where the late pope John Paul II once spoke during a visit to his deeply Catholic homeland in 1979.

The ceremony is set to finish Saturday afternoon before the bodies of the late president and first lady are moved to nearby St John’s Catherdral.

The Archbishop of Warsaw will hold an overnight vigil for the couple before their closed coffins are taken to Krakow for their funeral on Sunday.

Earlier on Saturday, Poland came to a standstill as they marked the one-week anniversary of the tragedy.

At 8:56 – the exact time the presidential plane crashed in Smolensk – bells tolled and sirens wailed before the start of a silent tribute to those who lost their lives.