Some Mechanical and Structural Aspects of the Smolensk Crash By Dr. Gregory Szuladzinski, Ph.D., MSME
Appendix VI. Eyewitness Accounts
Witness accounts present on 10 April, 2010 near the scene confirm that they heard the "thunder", "bangs", "detonations" or "explosions".
Standing by my airplane I heard the sound of a Tu-154M engine approaching for landing. I recognized it by the sound of engines characteristic for this airplane. I emphasize, that I have not seen it, only heard it. It was a sound of engines characteristic when approaching to land. At one point I heard the engines begin to enter the starting range, as if the pilot wanted to increase the engine speed, and thus flatten out or change to increase altitude. At this time, I wondered what could have influenced them to do so. After the power increased, a few seconds later I heard a loud cracking sound, bangs and detonations. Then, came the sound of the dying engine, followed by silence. For me those were scary sounds, which I hope I never hear again in my life. These sounds were coming from the direction of the approaching zone of tarmac. (Lt. Arthur Wosztyl, Polish pilot of a military aircraft Yak-40, which landed in Smolensk 94 minutes prior the crash of Tu-154M and at the moment the disaster was 700-800 meters from the crash site)
Suddenly I heard a roar, as if something exploded. (...) You know, like an explosion
(Anna-Nosarczuk Nikolayev, a resident of the house at. Kutuzov, whose windows are directed toward the crash site, was 300 meters from the site.)
I heard only the blast.
(Tatiana NN, a resident of the house at. Kutuzov, whose windows are directed toward the crash site, was 300 meters from the site.)
I hear a strange sound, unusual for a landing, the wheezing. Aircraft could not be seen, only an outline. I saw only the tail. I felt that something would happen. And something tiny , as if from a comet, such a thing. (...) The fog was all around, and there was a flame behind the tail 5 meters long. (...) The tail was in a normal position.
(NN Rustam, a hotel employee, "Novy" was 300 meters from the site.)
I hear the sound of the motor, except that the sound was a little different, I look into the fog and see that the plane is moving low, the left wing almost down. (...) Through the window I heard such a terrible bang and two flashes of fire, but not a big explosion.
(Slawomir Wisniewski, film editor, Polish public television TVP SA, stayed in the Hotel "Novy" was 300 meters from the site.)
We stood on the edge of the garages (...) and the explosion was like a yolk, egg yolk, round and nothing more [shows with his hands an oval with a diameter of about 120 cm]
(Anatoly Zuev, stood by the garage 300 meters from the site.)
I arrived maybe 15 minutes before the event. I saw an airplane that was flying very low. Clearly something was wrong. He began to cut the tops of trees and there in the distance we heard a loud bang - like a bomb.
(Marif Ipatow, was near the garages 300 meters from the site)
Aircraft often land here and we are accustomed to their sound. The plane was landing with a broken engine noise and loud cracks. (...) Was tilting from side to side, then fell down [gestures with his hand as the plane was tilting sideways].
(Dmitry Zakharkin aka Janis Ruskuł [in Russian edition of the speech to the state news agency RIA Novosti and introduced with the first of the names, then in the English version the second name was used], was to be near the garages, 300 meters from the site.)
In the voice mail there was a recorded voice of my husband, who shouted [my name], "Asia Asia". In the background you could hear the crackling sounds, or perhaps my husband's voice was in the background, with the bangs and cracking dominating. We could hear the voices of people too, like the sound of the crowd. It was not clear. I did not recognize any words. It was the cry of the people. This recording took two or three seconds. Husband's voice was slurred. The cracks were short, sharp sounds. As if breaking the wafer or plastic plus a sound like wind noise in the telephone receiver.
(Joanna D., wife of Mr Leszek D., who shortly before his death placed the phone call to his wife and recorded the farewell in voicemail. After listening to the recording the message was removed and the National Security Bureau says that a copy of the recording was not kept).
This day will be embedded in my memory for life. I saw the disaster with my own eyes. It happened in front of my own home. I live just 400 meters from the crash site. On Saturday morning I was outside the house. Suddenly I heard a terrible bang. A plane appeared on the hazy sky. Airplane as any other, I thought. Having lived a few hundred meters from the airport, you can get used to such views. One thing surprised me, though - at one point, the bang just froze. Literally, for a split second there hung dead silence over the forest. I turned my head and saw a falling plane. The legs buckled under me. After a while there was a terrible bang, and a glow of fire appeared in the trees. (...) I cannot believe what happened. Especially since this tragedy occurred in my own eyes, right in front of my house.
(Sergei Wandierow, stood in the yard of his family house about 800 feet from the ground)
(The word "explosion" and "detonation" as used in those relationships, and other direct witnesses describing events associated with the disaster, they may - but need not - describe the detonations of explosives.)
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