Mon, April 12, 2010
World > Europe > Polish President's plane crash

Kaczynski's body returned home

2010-04-11 23:32:42 GMT2010-04-12 07:32:42 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Soldiers escort the coffin of Polish President Lech Kaczynski at the airport in Warsaw, capital of Poland, April 11, 2010. The body of Polish President Lech Kaczynski who died in a plane crash in Russia on Saturday has returned to Poland. The plane carrying the flag-draped coffin landed in Warsaw on Sunday. (Xinhua/Ma Shijun)

People attend a mourning ceremony for Polish President Lech Kaczynski and people on board the crashed Tu-154 aircraft, in Warsaw, capital of Poland, April 11, 2010. On Saturday morning, a Polish government plane carrying a delegation for the 70th anniversary of the Katyn crime crashed at Smolensk, 18 kilometers from Katyn where WWII Polish officers were murdered 70 years ago. All 96 passengers aboard the plane were killed including President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria. (Xinhua/Ma Shijun)

Polish servicemen carry a coffin with Polish President Lech Kaczynski during a farewell ceremony at the Smolensk airport April 11, 2010. Poles were in deep mourning on Sunday after President Lech Kaczynski and many of the country's ruling elite were killed in a plane crash. (Reuters Photo)

Polish servicemen carry a coffin with Polish President Lech Kaczynski during a farewell ceremony at the Smolensk airport April 11, 2010. Poles were in deep mourning on Sunday after President Lech Kaczynski and many of the country's ruling elite were killed in a plane crash. (Reuters Photo)

WARSAW, April 11 (Xinhua) -- The body of Polish President Lech Kaczynski who died in a plane crash in Russia on Saturday has returned to Poland. The plane carrying the flag-draped coffin landed in Warsaw on Sunday, local media reported.

From the back of the plane the coffin was escorted by the guard of honor. Played was the Polish national anthem. Prayers were said by Apostolic Nuncio archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk, Bishop Stanislaw Budzik and Warsaw archbishop Kazimierz Nycz.

Present at the Warsaw airport were the late president's family, Sejm (lower chamber of the Parliament) and Senate speakers, Prime Minister Donald Tusk, European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, government officials and parliamentarians.

The plane carrying the body of Kaczynski arrived from the airport in Smolensk, Russia, where the Polish president and 95 others was heading Saturday to honor 22,000 Polish officers slain by the Soviet secret police NKVD in 1940.

From the Warsaw airport, the coffin was taken to the Presidential Palace. Thousands of people lined Warsaw's streets to honor the late president as his coffin was making its way to the palace, where thousands have left flowers and lit candles.

Later the coffin was taken to the presidential chapel. This will be a special time for the president's family as the chapel will be closed to the public, Presidential Minister Jacek Sasin said earlier in the day. A decision when the body will lie in state will be taken later, Sasin added.

No date for a funeral has been set.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin saw off Kaczynski's coffin at a short ceremony at Smolensk. The Polish side was represented by Ministers of the Presidential Chancellery Maciej Lopinski and Malgorzata Bochenek and Poland's Ambassador Jerzy Bahr.

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