Thursday, May 06, 2010

Outrage at Smolensk scavangers

From: NWE
The country was rocked this week by the news that less than a month after the tragic air disaster at Smolensk, people are making their way up to the site in order to scavenge around and find personal belongings once owned by the victims of the crash.

As ordinary citizens make their way up to the swamp ground to pray and pay their last respects to those who died in the airplane accident, many are taking the opportunity to stage their own personal ‘treasure hunt’, hoping to take away their own personal souvenirs from the crash that has caused deep shock amongst the nation.

While there have been calls from the Polish government to secure the area, it seems that little has been done by the Russian side to uphold the requests.

“As we arrived, there were already a line of parked cars on the road ahead of us,” says Mrs Wieslaw, who went to visit the site. “Not only that, but Polish trucks and several cars with Russian number plates too.”

And it appears that for those wishing to make a bit of an effort, the searching around in the mud and dirt has already paid off dividends.

Amongst some of the items that have been reported to have been found is a 36th Special Air Transport emblem from one of the onboard seats, fragments of the aircraft and other assorted cables and wires.

According to one searcher, Rafal Dzieciolowskiego, a member of his group was able to track down the passport belonging to Gabriela Zych, the Chairman of the Kalisz Katyn Families Association.

“We had to clean up the document first as it was covered in dirt, but it was still completely intact,” he says.

“But the worst thing we came across was a large piece of flesh,” continues Dzieciolowskiego. “It was slightly bigger than a human hand and caked in mud. It was monstrous and the smell left us with little doubt as to what we had found. The only thing to do was move to a dry patch of ground and bury it with dignity.”

While there have not yet been reports of people profiting from goods and items found at the site via the black market, one group told of how they were approached by a Russian man who was willing to pay for what they had found.

“On one occasion, we were approached by a Russian man offering us as much as PLN 500 for a piece of the plane, however we had already decided that we were not looking to profit from the trip and refused to discuss this matter with him.”