Fri, May 21, 2010
CVR Picked Up Voices 16-20 Minutes Before The Plane Went
New evidence has surfaced about the crash of a Polish aircraft
which went down April 10, killing the President of Poland, his
wife, and many other high-ranking government officials.
Polish and Russian officials held a news conference Wednesday to
announce that the cockpit voice recorder recovered from the
Russian-built TU-154 captured the voices of unidentified passengers
in the cockpit some 16-20 minutes before the crash. The New York
times reports that the pilot had already received at least one
advisory concerning poor weather at the airport when the cockpit
conversation was recorded.
The delegation was traveling to Russia for the 70th anniversary
of the Katyn massacre, in which more than 20,000 Polish officers
and others were killed by the Soviets during World War II. The
presence of the voices of non-crew members in the cockpit has led
to rampant speculation that the pilots may have been pressured to
land so that the President and others would not be late for the
Tatyana Anodina, the head of the Interstate Aviation Committee,
said one of the non-crew members in the cockpit had been
identified, but aviation rules prevent her from naming that person
or what was found on the CVR. However, the Polish News Agency PAP
identified one of the voices as General Andrzij Blasik, the head of
Poland's Air Force. “As for the influence on the decision
making of the crew, this should be investigated,” Anodina
said. “This is important for the investigation and for
establishing the cause” of the crash.
Shortly before the accident occurred, a Russian airliner
reportedly missed two approaches to the airport and diverted to an
alternate. The crew was informed about 4 minutes before the crash
that visibility had dropped to 650 feet in heavy fog.
Investigators also said they were looking into the possibility
of a cell phone being used while the aircraft was in flight. What
is still not known is why the crew ignored ground proximity
warnings before the airplane struck trees short of the runway
before impacting the ground.
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