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President's plane crash: a "crash" for Poland

2010-04-12 08:37 BJT

Special Report: Polish President Dies In Plane Crash |

WARSAW, April 10 (Xinhua) -- No country is fully prepared for such a tragedy in peaceful time in which its leader and dozens of high-ranking officials die simultaneously.

Combo photo shows some of the prominent victims of the crash of Poland's presidential plane. It includes Maria Kaczynska, 66, Poland's first lady; Gen. Franciszek Gagor, 58, army chief of staff; Vice Admiral Andrzej Karweta, 51, navy chief commander; Gen. Tadeusz Buk, 49, land-forces commander; Slawomir Skrzypek, 46, president of the National Bank of Poland; Aleksander Szczyglo, 46, head of the national security office; Piotr Nurowski, 64, head of Poland's Olympic Committee, and so on. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Combo photo shows some of the prominent victims of the crash of Poland's presidential 
plane. It includes Maria Kaczynska, 66, Poland's first lady; Gen. Franciszek Gagor, 
58, army chief of staff; Vice Admiral Andrzej Karweta, 51, navy chief commander;
Gen. Tadeusz Buk, 49, land-forces commander; Slawomir Skrzypek, 46, president of the 
National Bank of Poland; Aleksander Szczyglo, 46, head of the national security office;
Piotr Nurowski, 64, head of Poland's Olympic Committee, and so on. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

So when it does happen, the country is exposed to unexpected social and political disturbance, and its people are on pins and needles about future.

On Saturday, Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife died when their chartered plane, en route from Warsaw to Russia's Smolensk, crashed shortly before landing.

Victims also included Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer, Central Bank Governor Slawomir Skrzypek, Chief of the National Security Bureau Aleksander Szczygo, among other high-ranking officials.


Most of the dead were to attend events in Russia marking the 70th anniversary of the massacre in Katyn forest of thousands of Polish officers. But they could never make the trip.

The shocking accident sank the whole nation into deep sorrow, as Kaczynski was the first Polish president who died in service.

It is also the most fatal event in which many government officials were killed due to non-battle related cause in the history of Poland.

Local newspapers described it "an unprecedented tragedy" of the nation.

Former Polish President Lech Walesa, who served in 1990-1995, said the loss of so many elite figures was a misfortune to the country, and a huge loss of the nation.

Walesa's successor Aleksander Kwasniewski, in office till 2005, said the catastrophe would cast far-reaching influence on the social and political development of Poland.

The emergency is feared to result in a leadership vacuum in many of the country's sectors for quite some time and to breed seeds of instability.