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Polish president dies in Russian plane crash

Sat Apr 10 18:55:15 EST 2010
Sat Apr 10 08:55:15 UTC 2010

MOSCOW, April 10 Agencies - Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife died on Saturday along with 130 others when their plane crashed while coming in for landing in western Russia, officials said.

The governor of the Smolensk region, where the crash took place about 11am (1700 AEST), said no one survived.

"The Polish presidential plane did not make it to the runway while landing. Tentative findings indicate that it hit the treetops and fell apart," Sergei Anufriev said on state news channel Rossiya-24. "Nobody has survived the disaster."

The Polish foreign ministry confirmed that Kaczynski and his wife were aboard the plane.

The head of Russia's top investigative body, Sergei Markin, said there were a total of 132 people on the plane, a Tu-154.

Russian television broadcast live footage on Saturday showing the wreckage of the plane scattered in a forest with parts of it still on fire.

The television pictures showed the plane broken into many pieces of varying sizes, including engines and a huge chunk of the plane's vertical stabiliser caked in mud, strewn over a large area in forest that was blanketed with fog.

Firefighters were dousing water on portions of the plane that were still ablaze while groups of security personnel in camouflage uniforms and clusters of investigators in civilian clothes inspected the wreckage.

The Russian foreign ministry told Interfax news agency that the plane had crashed in heavy fog.