Crashed An-26 had engine problem and aborted first approach

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Preliminary investigation into the Antonov An-26 frozen lake crash in Estonia today has found that the aircraft was experiencing problems with one of its engines, and had already aborted one approach to Tallinn Airport.

The twin-engined aircraft, registered SP-FDO and operated by Polish carrier Exin, had been arriving from Helsinki.

It encountered a problem with its left engine, says a spokesman for the Estonian accident investigation team, but executed a go-around during its initial approach to the airport.

"They tried to land but were not successful the first time," he says.

The An-26 subsequently crashed onto 30cm-thick ice covering Lake Ulemiste which lies on the extended approach centreline to Tallinn's runway 08.

Investigators have yet to determine whether the decision to land on the ice was deliberate or forced upon the pilots by the circumstances.

Personnel on the scene have stabilised the aircraft, preventing it from sinking into the lake, says a spokesman for the economics ministry. He adds that work is progressing to remove around 1.5t of fuel, and plans are being drawn up to transport the aircraft to shore.

The lake provides drinking water to Tallinn but the city's authorities have reassured that there is no risk to health from fuel leakage.

Exin is based in Lublin and operates services on behalf of freight company DHL. It was carrying DHL cargo at the time of the accident. All six occupants, which included four air crew and two handlers, survived.