Polish experts have deciphered new fragments of Tu-154 black box recordings which have shed light on an April 10, 2010 plane crash that took the lives of Polish President Lech Kaczynski in Smolensk; dozens of top Polish officials had intended to fly to Russia for what had been slated to be a reconciliatory meeting between the governments of the countries to recognize the victims of the WWII-era Katyn massacre.
Polish experts have scrupulously reconstructed what happened during the last moments in the cockpit of the presidential Tu-154 airplane before the catastrophe. The decrypted recording has proven that a "third party" had been constantly interfering with the crew, entering the cockpit despite the protests of the pilots. In the last 20 minutes before the crash, the crew made seven desperate attempts to silence unidentified individuals in the cockpit. Half an hour before the crash, the plane's microphones had caught a conversation between crew members and some unidentified persons about alcohol. The stewardess asked someone if he wanted to drink some beer and a person answered positively.
Although the pilots were informed of bad weather conditions at Smolensk military airfield and asked by an air traffic controller to divert the plane to another airport, the crew apparently decided to risk landing.
The catastrophe resulted in the deaths of the country's top political, military, financial and religious leaders, including the head of the state, Polish President Lech Kaczynski. An international investigation of the tragedy was launched by the Interstate Aviation Committee, which included Polish, Russian and American experts. According to the preliminary findings, the catastrophe had been caused by human error and severe weather conditions. The pilots were warned of the heavy fog at Smolensk airfield and were asked to divert the presidential plane to another airport. The Interstate Aviation Committee also disclosed that the pilots could have been subjected to pressure from high-ranking officials. The detailed transcript of the plane's black box recordings, presented recently by the Polish experts, has confirmed this suggestion and revealed important new facts about the tragedy.