Yangon, Myanmar – At least three people were killed and 11 were wounded when an airliner crash-landed on a road in central Myanmar on Christmas Day. Authorities said heavy fog likely caused the plane to miss the runway and crash into a nearby paddy field.
Reutersr reports that a man on a motorcycle was killed when the airliner touched down on the road. An 11-year-old child also died when the plane’s tail broke during the crash.
The Air Bagan flight from Mandalay to Shan State was carrying 71 people, 48 of whom were identified as foreign passengers. Many of the people on-board are believed to have been on their way to Inle Lake, a popular tourist destination in the region.
Although officials blame weather conditions for the accident, the pilot’s version of the story is a little different.
According to The Associated Press, the pilot claims the airliner crash-landed after striking a line of electrical wires near the airport. However, officials were quick to blame the heavy fog for the pilot for mistaking the road for the runway.
Reports indicate the plane caught fire shortly after all of the passengers had been removed from the scene. The explosion was likely caused by the “hard landing” the airliner made after missing the runway.
State media television reported:
“While descending, the plane mistakenly landed … due to fog beside the runway. The rear end of the plane broke and caught fire.”
A message posted on Deputy Information Minister Ye Htut’s official Facebook page explained that authorities had the fire completely under control roughly 45 minutes after the explosion. Air Bagan said injured passengers were taken to an area hospital for treatment.
The AP reports that “two Americans, a British national, and a Korean” were counted among the wounded passengers.
According to CNN, a representative for Air Bagan said an investigation into the airliner crash is currently underway.