Crash-landing 'a very scary moment'

2012-12-26 14:50

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Heho - Survivors of a crash-landing in Myanmar on Christmas Day recounted on Wednesday fleeing the burning plane as smoke filled the cabin after the ageing airliner came down in a field short of the runway.

There was no warning from the pilots or cabin crew that anything was wrong as the Fokker 100 jet descended in thick fog towards Heho airport in eastern Shan state, according to passengers on board.

"When I looked out, I saw all of a sudden there was no runway. Then there was an impact," said David Antoni, 27, from Germany.

"It came to a stop and within two minutes we all just got on our knees because there was a lot of smoke coming through the airplane... This was a very scary moment," he told AFP while recovering at a nearby hotel.

"Some people jumped through the fire (to get) out because they couldn't go through the front due to too much smoke," he said.

"This is a once-in-a-million chance I guess to crash-land, lucky to survive."

'Rough roller coaster'

Anna Bartsch, a 31-year-old Australian on board who had planned to visit nearby Inle Lake and its vineyards with her partner for Christmas, described the landing as "like a rough roller-coaster".

"It got very hot and we knew to get out of the plane very quickly. We knew that the back was burning," she said in Yangon after returning on a special flight organised by Air Bagan.

"It turns out that the wings had come off but we didn't know that yet... I was thinking the fuel would explode there at any minute. So that was the scary part of the thing," added Bartsch, who escaped without serious injury.

Seventy of the 71 people on board miraculously survived the accident, while one Burmese tour guide on board was killed along with a motorcyclist on the ground.

Air Bagan described the incident as an "emergency landing" and officials said it was too soon to pinpoint the cause.

Duong Bich Hanh, 38, from Vietnam was also on board the plane along with her family.

Questions about safety

"We were informed that the plane will be landing soon... then a few huge bumps... then I woke up... I grabbed my son. We rushed out of the airplane. We got out and on the way we looked back to see the airplane on fire".

"We were not aware that the plane was on fire. We thought that it was just a type of very bumpy landing," Hanh said.

The incident raised fresh questions about the safety standards of Myanmar's fast-growing but stretched aviation industry as foreign visitors flock to the country as it emerges from decades of junta rule.

But Hanh said she was not put off returning.

"Plane crashes happen anywhere. It's not just Myanmar that has crashes. We hope to come back sometime."

Read more on:    myanmar  |  air travel  |  air crashes

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.