Polish people turn out for return of First Lady

The body of Poland's first lady was flown home from Russia to an emotional welcome today.

The body of Poland's first lady was flown home from Russia to an emotional welcome today.

It was followed by a special parliamentary commemoration of her husband the president and others who died in the weekend's plane crash.

Maria Kaczynska's body, in a wooden casket draped with Poland's white-and-red flag, arrived in a military plane at Warsaw's Okecie airport. It was met by her only child, Marta, and by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, her brother-in-law who was also the twin of the late president.

Mrs Kaczynska's body was ferried to the Presidential Palace in the back of a hearse, just like her husband's was a day ago.

Thousands of Warsaw residents lined the route, putting bouquets of tulips and roses on top of the black vehicle.

The bodies of the first couple are to lie in state in closed coffins in the Columned Hall of the Presidential Palace, where the president appointed and dismissed governments.

The body of Ryszard Kaczorowski, the last president of Poland's government-in-exile in London, will be brought back tomorrow and his coffin will probably also be put on public display, Senate Speaker Bogdan Borusewicz said.

Mr Kaczorowski's family has asked that his coffin be placed in the smaller presidential palace of Belweder, two miles from the main palace.

A state funeral will be on Saturday or Sunday.

Investigators have suggested that human error may have been to blame in Saturday's crash that killed the Polish president and 95 others, saying 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.

So far, 87 bodies have been recovered and 40 of them identified.

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