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28Dec/12Off

Survivors Of Christmas Day Plane Crash Speak Out

Aviation accidents are not supposed to happen on Christmas Day. What’s more, they’re not supposed to happen to us. When they do occur, their effects can be devastating.

Survivors of a Christmas Day crash-landing of an airliner in Myanmar told terrifying tales of escape Wednesday as carrier Air Bagan apologized for what it called the worst accident since it started flying in 2004.

Aerial view of Heho Airport

Aerial view of Heho Airport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Details of the crash remain unclear but airline officials told a news conference Wednesday that they found the plane’s two black boxes and were investigating what went wrong. So far, officials have blamed heavy fog for the aircraft’s crash into a rice paddy field where it burst into flames. Two died and 11 were injured, including four foreigners.

The Fokker 100 jet was 21 years old but passed inspections at annual renewals of its air worthiness certificate, the officials said. On Tuesday, it was carrying 71 people, including 48 foreigners, from the city of Yangon via Mandalay to Heho airport, which is the gateway to the popular tourist destination Inle Lake.

The plane came to a stop and they felt relief – then panic.

Passengers rushed up the aisle to the front door, which was initially stuck shut.

The door was quickly forced open and passengers raced from the plane, some in shock and some suffering smoke inhalation. Once on safe ground, the pilot and co-pilot had bloodied faces and other people had serious burns.

A flight attendant told reporters Wednesday that the crew realized something was wrong only when the plane hit the ground.

The accident has raised concerns about the safety standards of Myanmar’s overburdened airlines as foreign visitors have flocked to the Southeast Asian country which is emerging from a half-century of military rule.

Air Bagan is one of a half dozen private airlines that fly domestic routes in Myanmar. After one plane was destroyed in Tuesday’s crash its fleet now consists of five planes, including four ATR turboprops and another Fokker 100, which is no longer made.

Air Bagan has said “the plane hit electrical cables about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from Heho airport as it descended and landed in rice fields.”

The Information Ministry said the pilot mistook a road near the airport for the runway before stopping in a nearby rice paddy. It was unclear if the plane made its crash landing on the road or the rice field.

All fatalities were Myanmar citizens, including a man riding a motorcycle where the plane came down and a tour guide aboard the plane. There were earlier reports of an 11-year-old child also among the dead.

If you or a loved one were the victim of a aviation accident that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

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