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Updated: April 13, 2010 15:16 IST

Body of Poland’s First Lady returns home

AP
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A young volunteer collects flowers as a photograph of late Polish President Lech Kaczynski is displayed on a screen at the Presidential Palace, three days after he died in a plane crash in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday. Photo: AP.
A young volunteer collects flowers as a photograph of late Polish President Lech Kaczynski is displayed on a screen at the Presidential Palace, three days after he died in a plane crash in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday. Photo: AP.

The body of Polish First Lady Maria Kaczynska was returned from Russia on Tuesday as Parliament prepared to hold a special observance in memory of the president and numerous lawmakers killed in a plane crash.

Kaczynska’s body, in a wooden casket draped with Poland’s white-and-red flag, arrived in a military CASA plane shortly after 10:30 a.m. at Warsaw’s Okecie airport. It was greeted by Kaczynska’s only child, daughter Marta, and by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the twin brother of the late president.

Investigators have suggested human error may have been to blame in Saturday’s crash that killed the Polish president and 95 others, saying on Monday there were no technical problems with the Soviet-made plane.

The Tu—154 went down while trying to land in dense fog at Smolensk in western Russia. All aboard were killed, including President Lech Kaczynski and dozens of Polish political, military and religious leaders.

They had been travelling in the Polish government-owned plane to attend a memorial in the nearby Katyn forest for thousands of Polish military officers executed 70 years ago by Josef Stalin’s secret police.

Later on Tuesday, lawmakers will convene for a special session in memory of Kaczynski and of over a dozen parliamentarians who also died in the crash.

The bodies of the first couple are to lie in state in closed coffins at the Presidential Palace beginning later Tuesday, their coffins closed. The viewing will be open to the public.

Palace spokesman Jacek Sasin said officials are planning the funeral for Saturday.

So far, 87 bodies have been recovered and 40 of them identified, Polish Prosecutor General Andrzej Seremet said.

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