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Polish prosecutors to probe leak of 2010 plane crash transcript

Workers at the site where a Polish government Tupolev Tu-154 plane crashed on April 10, 2010 in Smolensk, Russia. — Reuters picWorkers at the site where a Polish government Tupolev Tu-154 plane crashed on April 10, 2010 in Smolensk, Russia. — Reuters picWARSAW, April 7 — Polish prosecutors vowed to probe a leak of documents from the investigation of the 2010 presidential plane crash and said a media report alleging the pilots were under pressure to land in heavy fog contained “inaccuracies.”

RMF FM published excerpts today from new flight- recorder transcripts that identified Poland’s air force commander as being in the cockpit during the final approach to the airfield in Smolensk, western Russia. He is allegedly heard telling the two pilots they “will make it easily,” even as low-altitude alarms blared, according to the radio broadcaster’s website.

“While the news report includes phrases and quotes from the transcript, it also contains a number of inaccuracies,” Major Marcin Maksjan, a spokesman for the Military Prosecutor’s Office, told reporters in Warsaw. Excerpts published by RMF include phrases juxtaposed from different times or taken out of context, he said without elaborating.

The Russian-built Tupolev 154M airliner carrying the late President Lech Kaczynski clipped trees, flipped over and crashed as it attempted to land at the decommissioned military airfield on April 10, 2010. All 97 on board were killed, including Poland’s central bank governor, military commanders and leading lawmakers from the country’s opposition.

Maksjan confirmed military prosecutors had obtained a new transcript based on a higher-quality copy of the flight recorder that contains 30 per cent to 40 per cent more words than previous versions.

The transcript shows the air force commander asking pilots for “ideas” after the first “Terrain Ahead” alarms sounded, according to RMF FM. Fifteen minutes before the crash, Kaczynski’s chief of protocol is also allegedly heard instructing the crew to “keep trying until you succeed” after being told of the adverse weather conditions, the radio said. — Bloomberg

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