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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Was 'VIP passenger syndrome' to blame for Polish air tragedy?

Amid the many theories still swirling around the Smolensk air crash in which Polish President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others died on Saturday, one is gaining ground: that the crash was the result of 'VIP passenger syndrome' and that the VIP responsible was the president himself.

'VIP passenger syndrome' means simply that a very important passenger uses his or her clout to influence the pilot and/or crew to make a bad decision under pressure.
Fingers are being pointed at the late president after it was disclosed that he had done something like it before.

In August 2008, Kaczynski reportedly "shouted furiously" at a pilot who, for safety reasons, disobeyed an order to land his plane in Tbilisi during Georgia's war with Russia (Kaczynski was a great supporter of the Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili).

Kaczynski later tried to have the Polish air force pilot, Grzegorz Pietuczak, removed from his job for insubordination, but Donald Tusk, the Polish prime minister intervened. Capt Pietuczak was later given a medal for carrying out his duties conscientiously, despite the presidential pressure to ignore the risks.

Russian aviation experts looking into Saturday's crash are convinced the same thing happened again and this time the captain, Arkadiusz Protasiuk, another Polish air force pilot, bowed to the presidential command.

More on this story over at The First Post.


jack said...

The thing I think is incredible even though they were attending a Katyn memorial is the fact they would put all there top government officials on one plane rather than separate flights.

For general security reasons that is insane.

The main theory will be that the FSB staged the crash and faked the evidence.

How? Why? Doesn’t matter

Saakashvili thinks it is an evil Russian plot.

Saakashvili: 'Something Incredibly Evil' About Kaczynski Death

You will remember he staged a border attack on the Polish PM motorcade when he visited Georgia after the Georgia-Russian war in 2008.

Anonymous said...

VIP syndrome? I don't know about that, Neil.

I personally wouldn't be a little bit surprized if that plane wasn't SHOT DOWN by the Russians.

Did you see Putin's crocodile tears at the crash site? (He looked guilty to me...)

jack said...


Although eyewitnesses at the scene describe it crashing when it went to a low dissent and one of the wings clipped the tree line breaking of the wing.

Why would the Russians shot down the plane?

Nicholas said...

Definitely insane to put all those people on one plane but so easy to do: I recall returning from the conference of an organisation I belonged to and suddenly realised that three quarters of our key team were on the flight! As to the conspiracy theories, horribly inevitable, I fear, goes with the territory...

Gibepregiba said...

Pilot probably thought that his experience is very good or that maybe situation isn't so dangerous. I don't know how to fly airplane so I cant judge on this topic, but I agree that he only did that under the pressure of VIP.

Few years ago Minister of agriculture was so bored with traffic that he ordered his driver not to pay attention(which they have right to do under special situations) on traffic and after few hundred meters they killed a girl in the center of town. Only under the extreme public pressure he agreed to give resignation. But only diver is in jail now.

So VIP passenger syndrome is real, especially among Eastern Europeans.