29/7 Tass 330
WARSAW, July 29 (Itar-Tass) —— The Miller Commission’s report on the presidential Tupolev Tu-154 crash near Smolensk on April 10, 2010, will help avoid similar accidents in the future, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said after the presentation of the findings of the governmental ad hoc commission led by Interior Minister Jerzy Miller.
“A detailed description of the causes of this tragedy is of paramount importance. The commission excluded the theories of an attack, an influence from third persons and pressure on pilots. Thanks to this report we can avoid similar accidents in the future,” he said.
“The commission ended its deliberations after several months of hard work. It is now on standby. If new significant facts emerge, I will have a right and a duty to resume the operation of this commission,” Tusk said. He noted that the appearance of new facts was unlikely. “The commission is confident it has sufficient knowledge [of the air crash] to present its final conclusions,” he remarked.
Tusk also said that the report would promote the development of Poland-Russia relations, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Friday.
“The truth is the best foundation for a good relationship of Poland and Russia,” he said. “The relations may improve further.”
“There are no political aspects in this report,” he noted.
The Polish theory of the presidential plane crash near Smolensk in April 2010 has a lot in common with the report of the Interstate Aviation Committee, but some conclusions are not quite clear, head of the Committee’s Technical Commission Alexei Morozov said on Friday.
“We have no objections to item 3.2,1 of the report, which says that the accident resulted from the excessive descent at the excessive speed under weather conditions, which prevented visual contact with the ground,” he said.
“The Technical Commission took into consideration all the technical data supplied by Poland in the drafting of its final report. Polish representative Edmund Klich and me drafted recommendations for the 36th special regiment after the preliminary analysis of the data in May 2010. The recommendations aimed to upgrade air traffic administration and training of Tu-154 crews,” he said.
“The final report of the Technical Commission also indicated the shortcomings in the equipment of the Smolensk Severny Airport and flight supervisors highlighted by the Polish governmental commission. However, the Technical Commission and international experts said that the shortcomings did not cause the crash,” Morozov said.
“Some conclusions are unclear to us, including the assuredness that the crew commander had no intention to land and that the unauthorized presence of certain individuals, among them the Polish Air Force commander, in the cockpit had no influence on the crew commander’s decision and the psycho-physiological condition of the crew,” he said.
“More detailed technical comment will be given later, after we study the materials of the Polish commission. I think we will do that very quickly,” Morozov said.
The Russian Investigation Committee will take into account the conclusion Poland has drawn from the crash of the presidential Tupolev Tu-154 jet, Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said.
“There is no doubt that the report of Polish authorities on the causes of the Tu-154 crash near Smolensk on April 10, 2010, will be taken into account in the investigation of the criminal case, together with all the other materials and documents related to it,” he said.
“However, the final conclusions about the Polish plane crash and the culpability of particular persons may be drawn only upon the end of the investigation. It is too early to say when the investigation may end,” he said.
“The Russian Investigation Committee will make a lawful and grounded decision and establish the causes and circumstances of the air crash and the culprits only on the basis of comparison and analysis of all the materials of this case and forensic results, as well as upon the completion of all investigative and other procedures,” Markin said.
The Polish commission said that the pilots of the presidential jetliner had insufficient skills to work under complex weather conditions.
“The pilots were not suicides. The crew attempted the landing being aware of the complex weather patterns, and that decision was not a mistake. However, the crew used a wrong altimeter. The crew commander thought they were flying at the altitude of 100 meters, but the actual altitude was 50 meters. He wanted to take another circle in the automatic control mode,” Miller said.
“All the decisions were correct, but the pilots were not skilled enough to operate in such bad weather. They lacked training, including that in a trainer. Only a trainer can help acquire skills for rescuing passengers and oneself,” he said.
Miller also declared the absence of interaction between the pilots and the airport tower.
The jetliner was perfectly in order before it hit the tree, Miller said.
Another commission member said that the level of the pilot’s skills endangered the flight safety. “The commission learned that the 36th special regiment, which transports high-ranking officials, made a number of violations in the preparations for this flight. The pilots were trained hastily. There were no training flights, and only the engineer was qualified enough. The crew was 30 minutes late to the airport on April 10, which deteriorated the quality of preparations for the flight,” he said.
“The changed configuration of the plane from 90 to 100 seats was not coordinated with the manufacturer but had no effect on the air crash,” the commission member said.
“The regiment refused from services of a Russian-speaking person, and the Russian side accepted the refusal although it did not comply with the rules of flights in the Russian airspace,” he said. “The insufficient knowledge of the Russian language by the pilot caused errors in decision making.”
The governmental commission also said that Russia borne a part of the culpability.
Polish experts said that the tower was able to see that the plane was above the glide path and shifted left from the runway but the tower told the crew that they were moving right. “Either the tower equipment was out of order or the air traffic controller was not trained well enough. The investigation showed that the equipment was working normally,” another commission member said.
The commission said that Russia was responsible for the readiness of the non-functioning airport Smolensk Severny, as it said on April 5 it was ready to receive the special flight.
According to the commission, the Polish Air Force commander, who was staying in the cockpit at the crash moment, was a passive observer. There are no indications that he was interfering in the work of the pilots, the commission said.
The place of the landing is chosen by the person in whose interests the flight is made, not the crew commander, Miller said.
The main passenger of the Tu-154 was Polish President Lech Kaczynski who planned to attend the Katyn remembrance event. The head of the Polish Foreign Ministry’s diplomatic protocol department told the crew several minutes before the crash that the president had not decided what to do.
The commission admitted that the pilots made an independent decision to land and there was no pressure on the crew.
The Polish opposition criticized the report and said that it contained fake information and no evidence.