WARSAW, Poland (AP) - The family of late President Lech Kaczynski has urged that hisstate funeral be held Sunday in Krakow as planned despite fearsthat a volcanic ash cloud emanating from Iceland may keep someworld leaders from attending.
In was the family's first statement since the president and hiswife, Maria Kaczynska, died in a plane crash Saturday in westernRussia along with 94 others among Poland's political and militaryelite.
"It is the will of the family that, under no circumstance, thedate of the funeral be changed," Presidential Palace spokesmanJacek Sasin said on the family's behalf.
Airports in Poland were closed Friday, however, as a cloud ofvolcanic ash drifting from Iceland forced huge patches of Europeanairspace to be closed. It unclear if Poland's airports would reopenin time to receive world leaders arriving late Sunday to attend thestate funeral.
The government also has said it does not plan any postponementof the ornate funeral service at Wawel Cathedral in Krakow.
"Theoretically, there exists such an option," Sasin said, butany delay would be an "absolute last resort."
Among world leaders planning to attend are President BarackObama, Russian President Dmitry Medvedv and German ChancellorAngela Merkel.
Late Thursday, the White House said Obama would fly to Poland onSaturday. Deputy White House Press Secretary Bill Burton said,"It's something that we're keeping an eye on. Right now, ourschedule is still on."
A Krakow airport spokeswoman said that while the airport wasclosed indefinitely, it was still preparing to receive worldleaders on Sunday.
"A two-day perspective ahead of the arrival of those planes is arelatively long time," Justyna Zajaczkowska told the AssociatedPress. "All we can do is wait."
Poland is preparing a tradition-laden funeral for Kaczynski andhis wife, who were among the 96 people killed when their plane wentdown in heavy fog after clipping a birch tree on approach toSmolensk. They had planned to attend a memorial for thousands ofPolish army officers executed in 1940 by the forerunner of theSoviet secret police in the nearby Katyn forest.
Polish investigators on Friday began examining one of threeblack boxes from the crashed Tu-154 plane, after Russian officialssaid their study of the boxes suggested pilot error was toblame.
The investigation is moving fairly quickly, aviation expertssaid, but some Poles have complained about a lack of publicinformation, including the transcript of conversation in thecockpit before the accident.
Officials said they planned to release details from the blackboxes only after the weekend memorial ceremonies.
The black boxes are being examined for more clues as to why theplane crashed. Investigators from both Russia and Poland have saidhuman error was likely to blame. The pilot had been warned of badweather and advised to land elsewhere, which would have delayed theKatyn observances.
Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee said the preliminaryinvestigation found that the plane hit some trees about 1,050meters (yards) from the paved runway, according to Russian statenews agency RIA-Novosti,
"After 200 meters, the left wing of the plane struck a tree, asa consequence of which the plane sharply heeled and turned over tothe left," the report said. "The main mass of fragments of theairliner are about 300-350 meters from the runway and about 150meters to the left of it."
Jerzy Artymiak, spokesman for Polish military prosecutors, saidtwo black boxes are still being examined in Russia.
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