On 10 April 2010, a Tupolev Tu-154M aircraft of the Polish 36th Special Aviation Regiment crashed next to Smolensk-North air base, just outside Smolensk near Pechyorsk, Smolensk Oblast, Russia, killing the President of Poland Lech Kaczyński and other Polish officials, including the chief of staff and senior military officers, the central bank governor, deputy foreign minister and dignitaries in the government, vice-speakers and members of the upper and lower houses of the parliament and senior members of clergy of various denominations. They were on their way to mark the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre.
The cause of the crash is under investigation and details still unconfirmed. News agencies reported that the possibly intoxicated pilot attempted four times to land in heavy fog, ignoring the advice of the ground control to divert to a safer airport, either in Minsk or Moscow. On the fourth landing attempt the plane struck trees 1.5 kilometres (0.9 mi) from the airfield and smashed into pieces across the floor of the wooded area.
All 96 people on the Soviet-produced aircraft died in the accident. It was among the worst disasters in Polish history by death-toll, and the most deadly aircraft crash since July 2009.