Russian crash report cites presidential pressure

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Russian crash report cites presidential pressure

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Pilot error was to blame, but the crew may have been under pressure.

That is the verdict of a report released in Moscow on a plane crash in Russia last April that killed the Polish president and scores of other senior officials.

Officials say human error led to the crash.

But they also say President Lech Kacyznski may have influenced the pilot prior to the crash.

Crew members feared Kaczynski would be angry if they aborted plans to land, flight recorder

audio played on Wednesday showed.

The chief crash investigator said the phrase “He’ll get mad” heard on the recording was evidence that the crew was in a difficult psychological situation. “It’s clear the flight commander thought landing on another emergency airfield would have brought a negative reaction from his most important passenger,” he added.

Reports at the time of the tragedy suggested the president may have insisted on landing in Smolensk in bad weather.