THE WORLDPOST
06/15/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Polish President's Pilots Knew Plane Was Doomed

Harrowing details have emerged of the final moments before the plane carrying Poland's president crashed in Russia last weekend.

According to investigators, the plane's black box recorders make it clear that the crew knew they were doomed after hitting trees tops. A source said that there was no suggestion from the tape that the pilots were pushed to make the landing, but the pilot appeared to ignore several warnings about landing.

"The crew was aware of the inevitability of the coming catastrophe, if only due to the plane shaking after the wings hit the trees -- which we are certain happened," Poland's chief prosecutor Andrzej Seremet said.

Colonel Zbigniew Rzepa, a Polish military prosecutor, said the last few minutes of the tape "were dramatic," but he did not elaborate.

The accident was likely a result of pilot error, according to the investigation.

The Russian-built Tupolev 154 plane hit trees and burst into flames last Saturday as it was attempting to land in thick fog at Smolensk airport in western Russia. It was not equipped with modern technology for low-visibility landings.

All 96 people on board were killed, including Polish president Lech Kaczynski.