Volcanic Ash Forces Obama to Cancel Poland Trip

ABC News' Vija Udenans reports:

With most of European air space closed due to the volcanic ash wafting through the atmosphere, President Obama has decided not to fly to Poland for the funeral of Polish President Lech Kaczynski, who died in a plane crash with his wife and dozens of other Polish leaders on April 10.

Obama called acting Polish President Komorowski and told him that he regrets "not being able to make it."

"Michelle and I continue to have the Polish people in our thoughts and prayers, and will support them in any way I can as they recover from this terrible tragedy," he said in a statement released this afternoon.

"President Kaczynski was a patriot and close friend and ally of the United States, as were those who died alongside him, and the American people will never forget the lives they led," he said.

The U.S. ambassador to Poland will represent the United States at the funeral Sunday in Krakow.

Canadian Prime Minister Harper has also announced that he will not be taking a trans-Atlantic flight to Poland.

Several other countries, including Japan, South Korea and India, have already indicated they will not be able to attend the funeral.

Air Force One had been expected to leave Saturday evening for the overnight flight, and return immediately to the United States on Sunday after the funeral.

The president's travel is being limited just like that of many other people. The Air Transport Association reports that "out of 337 daily nonstop scheduled flights by U.S. carriers between the U.S. and Europe, today 282 originating and departing flights have been canceled as a result of the Icelandic Volcanic activity."

-- Vija Udenans

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...