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Plane Skids Off Runway in Myanmar

October 27, 1999

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ An Indian Airlines plane trying to land in high wind and heavy rains skidded off a runway and into deep mud, but all 92 people aboard escaped injury, officials said Wednesday.

The accident occurred late Tuesday as the Airbus 320, en route from Calcutta to Yangon, landed with a thud at Yangon’s international airport.

Passengers complained of shoddy treatment after they evacuated the plane by emergency chutes into mud and stormy weather.

A Calcutta man who gave his name as Dutta, 50, said the plane swerved before landing heavily. The plane’s lights went out as it came to a halt.

``There was shouting but no panic,″ said the man, a bank employee traveling to Singapore with his wife and two daughters. ``I went through the emergency chute and landed knee deep in mud. It was raining very hard, and it was very windy.″

A Yangon airport official, who requested anonymity, said the cause of the accident appeared to be bad weather. The plane’s undercarriage was damaged and it could not take off again.

Yangon airport was closed to major international flights early Wednesday, but domestic services and international services using smaller airplanes were still operating, the official said.

A spokesman for Indian Airlines in New Delhi, who also declined to be named, confirmed that all 83 passengers and nine crew were unhurt. Over 40 of the passengers bound from Calcutta to Singapore would depart Yangon on the first available flight, the spokesman said.

It was not clear when the transit passengers _ those who were flying through Yangon en route to other destinations _ would be able to fly out. They were eventually booked into an airport hotel.

Sean Lee, a Singapore-based spokesman for plane manufacturer Airbus Industrie, said the company was sending a team from its headquarters in Toulouse, France, to assess the damage.

Update hourly