Published on Thursday, 27 December 2012 12:55
The black box of the plane that crashed in eastern Shan State has been found and will be brought to Singapore.
The flight data recorder will determine why Air Bagan’s Fokker-100 plane was forced to make an emergency landing two miles from Heho airport on the morning of December 25.
State television reported: "While descending, the plane mistakenly landed...due to fog beside the runway." The plane hit a 66KV power line tower, a row of trees, and then plunged downward. It made a hard landing on a road and then came to a stop in a nearby rice paddy field. The mid-section broke and "the rear end of the plane caught fire”.
The crew immediately opened the emergency exits for the passengers and managed to pull them two minutes later it started burning, state-owned news agencies 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. Rescuers brought the fire under control about 45 minutes later.
The two injured pilots were rushed to Sao San Tun Hospital in Taunggyi for treatment, along with nine others who were injured. Two Americans, two Britons and one Korean man were among those taken to the hospital. Two French nationals were also slightly injured, according to a French embassy official in Yangon.
The airline company is now working with the respective embassies of injured foreign passengers to get their passports lost in the crash.
One of the two people killed was an 11-year-old passenger, believed to be a Myanmar citizen, and the other was a man riding a motorcycle on the road where the plane crash-landed.
The Air Bagan flight was carrying 63 passengers, including 51 foreigners, and six crew members from the city of Mandalay to Heho airport in Shan State, the gateway to the popular tourist destination Inle Lake.
"Now is the time when Myanmar is seeing more tourists than before. So, airlines need good aircraft and skilled pilots and crew. Regarding this accident, they could not release the accurate list of passengers on board for more than one hour. We need to have modern communications system in airports," said a government official in Shan State.
The Transport Ministry yesterday announced the formation of a five-member enquiry team led by the deputy director-general Win Swe Tun of the Directorate of Civil Aviation to investigate the accident.
"We are investigating the whole accident in cooperation with the Transport Ministry. We (Air Bagan) will take responsibility for all casualty, loss and damage," said Grace, deputy director of Air Bagan.
The Fokker 100, which is no longer manufactured, was one of two operated by the airline.
Air Bagan is one of five private airlines that fly domestic routes in Myanmar. It is the country’s first privately-owned airline when it was established in 2004. It is owned by Tay Za, a tycoon with links to the former military government.
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