(MOSCOW) – Newly released air traffic control transcripts from the April 2010 flight that killed Poland’s president have raised new questions over communications errors that may have led to the crash, reports the BBC.
Although Russia has blamed the crash on pilot error, Polish experts say that the Russian ATC is to blame for poor weather information that doomed the plane.
Transcripts depict mixed communications followed by desperation from air traffic control as the flight unknowingly heads for disaster.
Just over an hour before the crash, an ATC officer in Smolensk urgently asks Russia’s central control to warn the Polish plane that low visibility has closed the airport in Severny and that the flight has not requested permission to land.
The Russians reroute the flight to Vnukovo airport, but are unable to make contact.
When the Polish pilot does make contact, however, it is clear the pilot does not understand the Russian ATC officer’s warnings of fog and low visibility. A short time later, as the jet strikes the tree tops and crashes, the transcripts depict a frantic control room as Russian ATC officers shout obscenities amid attempts to contact the plane.
Along with claiming the life of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others, the crash also tore deeper into Polish-Russian relations.
As Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told parliament Wednesday, the countries relations are “maybe even more difficult than before,” and Poland should “not to seek fresh arguments to escalate conflict.”
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