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Polish president had history of dangerous landings
A leading Polish defence analyst says late president Lech Kaczynski was well known for ordering pilots to land in dangerous conditions.

The Polish leader was one of 97 people killed when his Russian-built Tupolev Tu-154 came down in thick fog near the Russian city of Smolensk on Saturday on its fourth attempt to land.

Russian officials are investigating whether pilot error was to blame.

Mr Kaczynski's delegation was headed to a memorial service in Katyn for 22,000 Poles who were massacred by Soviet secret police during World War II, a historic wound which has still not healed despite the passage of 70 years.

During the Russia-Georgia conflict, Mr Kaczynski flew to Tblisi to support the Georgian leader.

Air traffic control instructed the pilot not to land in a combat zone but the president ordered him do so anyway.

Leading Polish defence analyst Gregorsh Haldanowich says that this time the pilot would have again been under pressure to land against the advice of air traffic control.

"The pressure of the day, the pressure of the 70th anniversary of the Katyn Massacre - the ceremony was so huge that all aboard the aircraft wanted very much to land," he said.

Poles fell silent across the country on Sunday as they mourned Mr Kaczynski and top officials killed in the fiery crash.

Mr Kaczynski's body is now lying in state in the presidential palace after being brought back to Warsaw from Russia.

Thousands of people lined the streets of the capital to greet the motorcade as it accompanied his coffin on its way to the palace.

ABC News
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