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World News

Polish president feared dead in Russian plane crash

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SMOLENSK, Russia (Reuters) - Polish president Lech Kaczynski was feared dead after his plane crashed on approach to a Russian airport on Saturday, a Polish government official at the airport told Reuters.

Russian news agencies reported at least 87 people died in the crash near Smolensk airport in western Russia, citing the Russian Emergencies Ministry. They reported 132 people were aboard the Tupolev Tu-154.

Polish state news agency PAP said there were no survivors.

The Polish government official in Smolensk said there was no information about survivors. The crash occurred about 1.5 km (a mile) from Smolensk airport in foggy conditions.

The official said the head of the Polish army and the head of the presidential administration were also on board the plane, along with the president’s wife and families of other senior officials.

“The plane caught fire after the crash. Teams began attempting to pull out passengers from the badly damaged airplane,” said a Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman in Warsaw.

Additional reporting by Robin Paxton and Maria Kiselyova in Moscow and Chris Borowski in Warsaw; writing by Robin Paxton; editing by Andrew Roche

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