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Polish president feared dead in plane crash

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Polish president feared dead in plane crash

(CNN) -- Polish President Lech Kaczynski was likely killed early Saturday when the plane he was traveling in with his wife crashed at a western Russian airport, a spokesman for Poland's Foreign Ministry told CNN.
"It's probably that all people on board were killed," said Piotr Paszkowski.

The plane was approaching the airport at Smolensk, Russia, and probably hit some trees at the end of the runway, Paszkowski said.

"It caught fire, the fire has now been extinguished, but the extent of the damage is such that it's unlikely anybody on board survived," he said.

Kaczynski was 60.

Pictures from the scene showed parts of the airplane charred and strewn through a wooded area. Some pieces, including one of the wheel wells, were upside-down.

The crash happened around 10:50 a.m. (2:50 a.m. ET) on the outskirts of the town of Pechorsk in the Smolensk region, the Investigation Committee of the Russian prosecutor's office said in a written statement on its Web site.

The Tupolev-154 was carrying a total of 132 and was landing in heavy fog, the committee said.

The chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe expressed his condolences after the crash.

"I offer my deepest condolences to the Polish people and to the families of those killed in this tragic accident. Our hearts go out to you in this difficult time," said Kanat Saudabayev, who is also the secretary of state and foreign minister of Kazakhstan.

Source: CNN

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