13:46 May. 24, 2016
NASA and Latvia willing to open their satellite pictures and recordings
According to Wacław Berczyński – the head of the commission set up to investigate the crash which killed all 96 passengers including then-president Lech Kaczyński – the Latvian recordings are much better than those previously in possession by Polish investigators.
"I listened to this recording as head of the commission. We have had sound engineers, who assessed that it is a good recording, without interruption, clean; much better than the cockpit recordings we had earlier," Berczyński told the TVP broadcaster without going into any details as to what new information the tapes actually hold.
Meanwhile, Wiesław Binienda, another member of the Smolensk commission, said that the US-based NASA space agency has provided new satellite images of the Smolensk airfield on the fateful day of the crash, 10 April 2010.
Speaking to broadcaster TV Republika, Binienda revealed that the images can provide additional information to investigators which was not available for earlier reports. Binienda also suggested that the photographs obtained "will be proof that Russian authorities moved parts of the wreckage around the area" in the fateful hours following the crash.
In 2014, a group of parliamentarians mainly from the then-opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party concluded that the Tupolev 154 plane was brought down by an explosion. This was in stark contrast to official Polish and Russian military reports on the causes of the tragedy, which happened in dense fog on approach to a military airfield lacking ground identification radar.
The former report cited a catalogue of errors on the Polish side, while also pointing to errors made by Russian staff at the control tower of Smolensk Military Airport. The Russian report placed all the blame on the Poles. The wreckage of the plane has never been handed over by Russia to Polish authorities.