Cargo plane crash lands in Estonia

2010-08-26 19:04

Tallinn - A Polish cargo plane made an emergency landing on its belly at Tallinn airport after a landing gear problem, Estonian officials said on Thursday.

Sirje Piirsoo of the Estonian rescue service said none of the four crew members aboard the twin-engine Antonov AN-26 turboprop plane was hurt in the incident late on Wednesday.

Piirsoo said the DHL-chartered plane en route to Helsinki had just taken off when the crew was alerted to the problem with the landing gear, which apparently retracted before the plane was fully airborne, and they aborted the takeoff.

Tallinn airport was closed until early on Thursday as a result of the incident, causing a number of flights to be postponed.

The cargo plane is owned by Polish transport firm Exin Co, which in March suffered a similar incident in Estonia when its plane made an emergency landing on a frozen lake outside Tallinn. About 1.5 tons of fuel were spilled as a result.

Economy Minister Juhan Parts on Thursday urged the Estonian Civil Aviation Authority to probe "how it is possible that the same company with a same type of plane" could fall victim to two almost identical accidents at the same airport within a short time.

According to Exin's website, its planes have been chartered to fly for DHL on the Tallinn-Helsinki route since June 2009.

Authorities said initial investigation showed human error to be the likely cause for Wednesday's incident.