Twenty-nine killed in two separate air crash tragedies
Published 26/12/2012 | 05:00
TWENTY-nine people have died in two separate Christmas Day air crashes.
Two people were killed but dozens emerged safely when a plane packed with Christmas tourists crash-landed on a road in central Burma.
A Briton was one of four foreigners among the 11 injured.
The two people killed were an 11-year-old passenger, believed to be a Burmese citizen, and a man riding a motorcycle on the road where the plane came down.
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 popular tourist destination Inle Lake.
The airline identified the injured tourists as a British national, two Americans and a Korean. It described the incident as an "emergency landing".
Authorities gave a more dramatic account, saying the pilot mistook the road for a runway due to bad weather.
State television reported: "While descending, the plane mistakenly landed. . . due to fog beside the runway."
"The rear end of the plane broke and caught fire," state TV said.
Rescuers brought the fire under control about 45 minutes later. Witnesses said smoke filled the plane when it hit the ground and was still rising from the plane's badly charred wreckage hours later.
Meanwhile a military transport plane crashed in southern Kazakhstan, killing all 27 people on board, the RIA news agency quoted a senior Kazakh emergencies ministry official as saying.
"The plane has burnt up, only some of its fragments remain," he said.
Kazakh TV channel KTK said the plane had disappeared from radar screens at about 7pm local time (1pm GMT) as it was making a descent near the city of Shymkent, the capital of the South Kazakhstan Region.
Kazakhstan's KNB security service said the plane, bound for Shymkent from the capital Astana, belonged to its border troops.
The commander of the country's border guards, Turganbek Stambekov, was among those on board, it said. The plane was carrying a crew of seven as well as 20 servicemen.
KTK TV quoted its sources as sayin Antonov An-72 plane had plunged to the ground in bad weather from an altitude of about 800 metres.