TWO Aussie tourists were lucky to escape with their lives after a Burmese passenger jet crash-landed on a road, killing three people.
Black smoke was seen billowing from the charred wreckage of the Air Bagan aircraft, which came down near Heho airport - the gateway to the popular tourist destination of Inle Lake.
The fatalities were all Burmese citizens: a tour guide and an 11-year-old child on board the plane and a man riding a motorcycle on the road where the plane came down.
Fifty-one foreigners were among the 63 passengers on board the flight from Yangon via Mandalay, according to the information ministry.
Four foreigners - two Americans, a Briton and a Korean - were among the injured, according to reports.
Five Australians were onboard, including Adelaide locals Anna Bartsch, 31 and Stuart Benson 32, both of whom escaped with only minor injuries.
Details of the other Australians were not immediately available.
"We are OK but it was pretty messy and communication here is rather poor so we're not sure who is being told what,'' Ms Bartsch said in an email to adelaidenow.
"We have just had medical checks etc and are getting some official stuff sorted at the (Australian) Embassy given that we lost everything in the fire.
"There were quite a lot of international travellers on board and it's unclear how many people died but it's at least two.
"The wings were ripped off by trees before we crashed which, strangely enough, was a positive because it meant that there were no major explosions as the main fuel reserves were gone.
"We were stuck inside for a bit while the plane was burning though, at which point things were not looking great.
"Our injuries are minor sprains, back/neck soreness and a bit of smoke inhalation only so we feel very lucky!''
"It has been a weird day but the local people have been very concerned and helpful.''
Air Bagan described the incident as an "emergency landing."
Authorities gave a different and more dramatic account, saying the pilot mistook the road for a runway due to bad weather.
"While descending, the plane mistakenly landed ... due to fog beside the runway," state television reported. It said the aircraft made a hard landing on a road and then came to a stop in a nearby rice paddy field.
"The rear end of the plane broke and caught fire," state TV said, carrying a statement posted on Deputy Information Minister Ye Htut's Facebook page. Rescuers brought the fire under control about 45 minutes later, he 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.
Airport officials in Heho said that injured passengers were taken to a hospital in the nearby city of Taunggyi for treatment.
Air Bagan is one of five private airlines that fly domestic routes in Burma. It is a unit of Htoo Trading Company, which is owned by business tycoon Tay Za.