Volcano grounds Air Force One; Obama cancels trip to Poland

A thick cloud of volcanic ash hovering above Europe will ground Air Force One this weekend, preventing President Barack Obama from flying late Saturday night to Poland.

The president planned to attend the funerals of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and wife, Maria, this Sunday, more than a week after a plane carrying members of the Polish government crashed near an airport in Russia. 

However, ash from an Icelandic volcano has halted most travel throughout Europe this weekend, including the president's trip. Consequently, the president and first lady offered their condolences from a distance on Saturday, promising the United States' continued support as Poland transitions to a new government.

"I spoke with acting President Komorowski and told him that I regret that I will not be able to make it to Poland due to the volcanic ash that is disrupting air travel over Europe," Obama said in a statement. "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."

"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," the president noted.

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