- Title: POLAND: Poland in mourning after fatal military plane crash
- Date: 25th January 2008
- Summary: (EU) WARSAW, POLAND (JANUARY 24, 2007) (REUTERS) GOVERNMENT HEADQUARTERS POLISH FLAG AT HALF MAST FLAG WITH BLACK RIBBON, SIGN OF MOURNING GOVERNMENT MINISTERS OBSERVING MINUTE OF SILENCE FOR VICTIMS OF MILITARY AIRPLANE CRASH POLISH AND EUROPEAN UNION FLAGS, POLISH FLAG DECORATED WITH BLACK RIBBON (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) PRIME MINISTER DONALD TUSK, SAYING: "I know that today the families of the victims are suffering very much, but it might be of some relief that everybody in Poland are united with you. You are in the hearts and minds of those who offer you assistance in the upcoming days and weeks."
- Reuters ID: LVA3BT77W1WOFHJOQKCU9IX36HSL
- Location: Poland
- Country: Poland
- Duration: 00:00:57
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Story Text: Polish authorities launched an investigation on Thursday (January 24) into the country's largest military plane disaster that claimed 20 air force personnel, including high-ranking officers returning from an air safety conference.
A Spanish-made CASA 295m transport plane crashed in a forest on Wednesday evening on its approach to a military airport in northern Poland, killing four crew members and 16 passengers coming back from Warsaw.
Among the passengers were an air force general and the head of the base in Miroslawiec where the aircraft was to land.
"I know that today the families of the victims are suffering very much, but it might be of some relief that everybody in Poland are united with you. You are in the hearts and minds of those who offer you assistance in the upcoming days and weeks," Prime Minister Donald Tusk told reporters.
Despite earlier media reports, officials said they have not yet recovered the so-called black box with flight data and cockpit voice recorders.
President Lech Kaczynski has announced a national period of mourning after cutting short a state visit to Croatia.
One of the firemen called to the scene told local television station the twisted wreckage hardly resembled an airplane.
The aircraft that crashed on Wednesday started flying in August. It was one of 10 owned by the Polish air force, which also uses them to transport personnel and equipment to Polish forces stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The remaining CASA 295's in Poland were grounded pending the investigation.
Officials said the crash was Poland's worst military air disaster. In 1973, 18 people, including two government ministers, were killed in a similar accident.
Poland's largest aviation disaster took place in 1987 when a Polish LOT airliner crashed in a Warsaw forest, killing all 183 people onboard.
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