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Australians survive Burma crash
December 25, 2012: Smoke rising from the scene of an Air Bagan passenger plane crash as rescue personnel inspect the scene near Heho airport in Myanmar's eastern Shan state. The Myanmar ageing Fokker-100 plane carrying 65 passengers including foreign tourists crash-landed in eastern Shan state, leaving two people dead and 11 others injured, the airline and officials said. Picture: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Five Australians are among the survivors of a fatal plane crash in Burma.

Burmese officials said two people died and 11 others were injured when a plane crashed and burst into flames near Heho airport on Christmas Day.

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.

A spokesman for Air Bagan said the Fokker-100 jet landed about three kilometres short of the airport in Shan state, according to ABC reports.

Air Bagan said a Burmese tour guide on board the plane was killed and another person died when the plane hit a motorbike on a road near the airport.

Two Americans, two Britons and one Korean man were among those taken to hospital in nearby Taunggyi, according to Air Bagan, which described the incident as an "emergency landing".

The exact circumstances of the crash are unclear, but a Burmese official said a fire was reported in one of the engines as it approached the airport about 9am (local time) on Tuesday.

Adelaide woman Anna Bartsch, 31, and her boyfriend Stuart Benson, 32, formerly of Hobart, were among more than 60 passengers on board, most of them foreigners, according to ABC reports.

They managed to climb out of the wreckage with just minor injuries.

Two French nationals were also slightly injured, according to a French embassy official in Yangon.

The information ministry said on its website that the plane appeared to have landed in a field next to the runway due to the bad weather.

"Because of the emergency landing near the airport, the plane broke up in the middle," a government official told AFP, adding that passengers were evacuated.

The two pilots were among those taken to hospital, according to Air Bagan spokesman Ye Min Oo.

"The cause of the accident is not clear yet. Only the pilots will know the cause, but we can't contact them yet as they have been sent to hospital," he said.

Air Bagan is one of several domestic carriers seeking to profit from a tourist boom in Myanmar as it emerges from decades of military rule.

It is owned by tycoon Tay Za, who is known for his close links to the former junta and has been blacklisted by the US Treasury which once described him as "a notorious regime henchman and arms dealer".

The Fokker 100, which is no longer manufactured, was one of two operated by the airline along with four ATR turboprop aircraft, according to the company's website.

A surge in demand for air travel as Myanmar opens up has stretched the impoverished country's aviation infrastructure, in particular in remote airports.

Yangon International Airport, the country's main terminal, is set to exceed its limit of 2.7 million passengers this year and the Department of Civil Aviation warned in July it needed urgent upgrading.