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Two killed as plane crash-lands in Burma

Two people were killed and at least 10 were injured when a plane packed with Christmas tourists missed an airport runway and landed in a rice paddy field in Burma, state television reported.

The Air Bagan plane landed beyond Heho airport in Shan state, killing an 11-year-old passenger and a motorcyclist on the ground, MRTV said.

At least 10 people were wounded, including the pilot, it was reported.

Plane forced to make 'emergency landing'

Air Bagan said the plane, which was carrying 63 passengers and six crew members, was forced to make an "emergency landing".

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.

Scene of plane crash in northeast Burma

Two people were killed and at least ten injured in a plane crash in Burma today, state television reported.

These pictures were taken at the scene.

Smoke from the Air Bagan plane is seen in the distance Credit: Reuters
State television said the passenger plane missed an airport runway in heavy fog Credit: Reuters
The wreckage of the plane in a rice paddy Credit: Reuters

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Prime Minister's support 'opened door' to Spitfire excavation

The expedition to excavate dozens of British Spitfires buried in Burma during the Second World War may not have occurred if the Prime Minister had not called for the suspension of sanctions against Burma during a visit to the country in April, according to Mr Cundall.

David Cameron was talking about releasing the sanctions in April. At the same time he asked the president of Myanmar if the Spitfires could be recovered and there was broad agreement.

The timing was perfect. They suspended the sanctions, allowing me to negotiate the terms with the Myanmar government and also to sign the contract.

I cannot thank the Prime Minister enough because he has opened the door for me.

Mr Cundall had been sending letters to Mr Cameron calling for the removal of sanctions before the Prime Minister's trip to Burma.

Later in the year the Prime Minister sent him a letter of congratulations in which he expressed the hope that the Spitfires would fly once again in Britain, according to Mr Cundall.

Burma Spitfire excavation project 'biggest of my life'

Speaking before the announcement to evacuate dozens of British Spitfires buried during the Second World War today, Lincolnshire farmer and aircraft enthusiast David Cundall said:

It is the biggest project I have ever taken on in my life. I did not realise it would take 16 years or quite a large amount of personal money. But I do not regret it.

I have always admired the Spitfire. It has a very special place in British history, from the Battle of Britain. To find one Spitfire would be a major find, let alone 36.

Buried spitfires to be excavated

An operation to excavate dozens of British Spitfires buried in Burma during the Second World War is set to begin next year.

It marks the climax of a 16-year search for the lost aircraft by Lincolnshire farmer and aircraft enthusiast David Cundall.

Handout dated 2004 of the results of an electromagnetic survey at the site in Burma, led by Dr Roger Clark and Dr Adam Booth in 2004. Credit: Dr Roger Clark and Dr Adam Booth/PA Wire

Mr Cundall, 63, has poured tens of thousands of pounds into the venture - he says he stopped counting when the cost hit £130,000 - and hopes the recovered aircraft can be restored and eventually returned to flight.

He believes Lord Louis Mountbatten ordered the burial of 36 Spitfires in 1945 at the Mingaladon airfield, a major British base in Burma, as the Second World War was drawing to a close.

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