Plane crash-lands on Myanmar road, 2 killed

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In this photo taken Nov. 9, 2011, an Air Bagan plane takes off as tourists arrive at Heho airport in Heho, Shan State, Myanmar. The Myanmar\'s domestic airline\'s Fokker-100, not the same type of plane shown in the photo, made an emergency landing in central Myanmar Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012, on a road, killing two people and injuring 11, officials said. The Air Bagan flight was carrying 65 passengers from Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, to Heho, the gateway to a popular tourist destination, Inle Lake. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

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YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A flight packed with Christmas tourists crash-landed on a road in central Myanmar on Tuesday, killing at least two people and injuring 11, officials said.

Four foreigners were among the injured on the Air Bagan flight. The Information Ministry initially identified the fatalities as three Myanmar citizens: a tour guide and an 11-year-old child on board the plane, and a man riding a motorcycle on the road where the plane came down. A later report from the airline mentioned only two deaths.

The flight was carrying 71 people, including 48 foreign passengers, from the city of Mandalay to Heho airport in Shan State, the gateway to a popular tourist destination, Inle Lake, Air Bagan said in a statement Tuesday evening that revised earlier figures.

Air Bagan identified the injured tourists as two Americans, a French national and a Taiwanese. It initially described the incident as an "emergency landing" and later said "the plane hit electrical cables about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from Heho airport as it descended and landed in rice fields."

It said the plane burst into flames two minutes after the passengers were safely evacuated by the crew.

Authorities gave a different account, saying the pilot mistook the road for a runway due to bad weather.

"While descending, the plane mistakenly landed ... due to fog beside the runway," state television reported. It said the aircraft made a hard landing on a road and then came to a stop in a nearby rice paddy field.

"The rear end of the plane broke and caught fire," state TV said, carrying a statement posted on Deputy Information Minister Ye Htut's Facebook page. Rescuers brought the fire under control about 45 minutes later, he said.

Witnesses said smoke filled the plane when it hit the ground and was still rising from the plane's badly charred wreckage hours later.

Airport officials in Heho said that injured passengers were taken to a hospital in the nearby city of Taunggyi for treatment.

Air Bagan is one of a half dozen private airlines that fly domestic routes in Myanmar. It is a unit of Htoo Trading Company, which is owned by business tycoon Tay Za.

 
 
 

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