On Tuesday morning, the services resumed the search for the body of Jan Lityński, an anti-communist opposition activist in the Polish People’s Republic. Lityński drowned when he tried to save a dog, under which the ice broke during the walk. About 60 officers from various services take part in the action. An underwater drone and a camera are also used for the search.
Information about the death of Jan Lityński was provided on Sunday evening by his friend Eugeniusz Smolar. Lityński was an anti-communist opposition activist, elected several times as a deputy after 1989. For five years he worked as an advisor to President Bronisław Komorowski. He was 75 years old. In conversations with the media, friends and acquaintances of the deceased revealed that Lityński drowned trying to save the dog under which the ice broke. – He left because of his extraordinary sensitivity, saving the dog. Whole Lit – said Władysław Frasyniuk in an interview with TVN24.
The unfortunate accident happened on the Narew River near Pułtusk. On Monday morning, inspector Mariusz Ciarka, spokesman for the General Police Headquarters, confirmed that the police were searching for the body.
The search was resumed on Tuesday
According to Anna Kowalczyk from the District Police Headquarters in Pułtusk, about 60 officers of various services participated in the operation on Tuesday afternoon, who carry out operations both on the water and along the banks of the Narew River. Kowalczyk added that since yesterday, when WOPR rescuers found a headgear that probably belonged to Lityński, no other traces have been found.
– At 8 o’clock the search was resumed. Among others, firefighters, but also policemen take part in the action. Activities are conducted where the person fell into the river. Firefighters together with WOPR will break the ice and still look at the bottom. Police officers will search the shore – said Karol Kierzkowski, press spokesman for the commander of the Masovian State Fire Service, on Tuesday morning. – Everything is still icy and it’s a bit of a blindfold, but you have to take every possible method – assessed the firefighter.
As he added, firefighters use, among others underwater drone. A 15-meter-long rescue gangway has also been developed, from which searches are carried out with an underwater camera.
The search will last until dark. If they do not work, they will resume at eight on Wednesday.
On Monday, we informed that officers of the Pułtusk County Police Headquarters had participated in the search operation. Ciarka emphasized that an alarm had been announced for the entire personnel of the command. – 21 officers of the Independent Police Prevention Unit in Płock were directed to Pułtusk. The search is also carried out by officers of the State Fire Service with a boat and two ice sleds. There are three groups of divers working on site and a Volunteer Fire Brigade with a drone – Ciarka calculated. The policemen also used quads to search the banks of the Narew River.
On Monday afternoon, the services stopped the search.
“The current could have pushed the body even several kilometers towards Warsaw”
As Kierzkowski explained, on Sunday the action was carried out about two kilometers from the bridge in Pułtusk, but each day they will move further along the river current. – The current could have pushed the body even several kilometers towards Warsaw. It could have been hidden under the ice in the meanders of the river, under the roots – the spokesman noted. He added that firefighters would be helped by the spring temperatures that would cause the ice on the Narew to melt, but – as he pointed out – even with significant warming, the ice will remain on the Narew for at least a few days. According to the Pułtusk police, the search operation is to be resumed on Tuesday morning. Just like on Monday, the policemen will be patrolling the banks of the Narew River.
The activities of the services on Narew were watched by TVN24 reporter Jan Piotrowski on Monday. As he described, the search took place along a 1.5-kilometer stretch of the river. Several dozen policemen, firefighters and WOPR rescuers were sent to them. – This is the place where the Narew has its flood waters. Everything is frozen at the moment – he described. – This is an extremely dangerous place. There are places where the ice builds up and some where it gets brittle. But what does not change is the powerful current that is in the river under the ice – noted the reporter.
Divers in action
Mariusz Osica from the Water Rescue Service in Pułtusk told about the details of the search operation on Monday afternoon. – The conditions are difficult, there is a lot of water, there are branches, there is a large ice sheet. Visibility is limited to the subway, but that’s a lot when it comes to Narew. However, in the place where my colleagues and I assumed that the person sought might be, they were not seen – said the rescuer. – The greatest difficulty is the depth, up to three meters, and a very strong current, especially in the side course of the river. You cannot stand on the bottom, only (river current – ed.) Immediately places the diver in a horizontal position and pulls him under the ice. So there is also a problem with the belaying to pull him out later – described Osica.
He also reported that a flat cap was found during a river search. However, he did not confirm whether it belonged to Lityński.
Activist of the anti-communist opposition
Jan Lityński was born in 1946. He worked as a laborer, then a computer programmer. During the Polish People’s Republic, he was an anti-communist opposition activist. After 1989, he was a member of parliament for several terms, and in 2010–2015 he was an advisor to President Bronisław Komorowski for contacts with parties and political circles. Lityński was involved in opposition activities from the late 1960s. In 1968, he was one of the organizers of student speeches during the so-called March events.
In the second half of the 1970s, he cooperated with the KSS Intervention Office “KOR”.
In 1980, after the creation of NSZZ “Solidarność”, he was one of the advisers to the union authorities. He was interned during martial law until September 1982 and later arrested. From 1984 he was active in the underground as a member of the Regional Executive Committee of NSZZ “Solidarność” in the Mazowsze region. In 1989 he was a participant in the Round Table talks.
In the years 1989-2001 he was a member of the deputies, first as a representative of the “Solidarity” Civic Committee, and then the Democratic Union and the Freedom Union.
He was awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, and then the Commander’s Cross with the Star of the same order.
Main photo source: TVN24