At least one person was killed and two others injured in central China’s Hubei Province on Thursday after a Chinese military plane crashed in a residential area during routine training, China reported. Global Television Network (CGTN).
A Chinese People’s Liberation Air Force (PLAAF) J-7 fighter jet crashed during a training exercise on the morning of June 9 in the city of Laohekou, Hubei, damaging several civilian homes.
“The pilot parachuted out of the plane and was taken to hospital for examination and treatment along with two injured members of the public,” the China Central Television (CCTV) military channel reported.
Video footage of the crash site posted online by the South China Morning Post (SCMP) showed the extensive impact and fire damage to a residential compound in Laohekou. Smoke billowed from a sunken residential building as local firefighters attempted to douse lingering flames. The video also appeared to show the doomed plane’s fighter pilot sitting near the crash site shortly after he was ejected from the plane.
State-run CCTV said the cause of the PLAAF crash and whether it had other casualties remained unknown at press time June 9.
“The J-7 fighter aircraft was developed in China in the 1960s and is primarily designed for close-range air-to-air combat. Its production was suspended in 2013 and a derivative aircraft is now mainly used for pilot training,” according to the SCMP.
“There have been several other cases of fighter jets crashing during training flights in China,” the Hong Kong-based newspaper recalled on Thursday. “In 2015, a Chinese air force pilot parachuted to safety moments before his plane crashed into a hill. Two years earlier, a military pilot died when his fighter jet had crashed during night training in eastern Zhejiang.
China suffered its deadliest civilian air incident since 1994 on March 21 when a China Eastern Airlines plane crashed into a mountain in southern China’s Guanxi Autonomous Region, killing all 132 people in edge. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said on April 20 that it was still investigating the cause of the tragedy, although reports from the the wall street journal (WSJ) and Reuters in May suggested the plane may have intentionally nose-dived into Guanxi Mountain.
“The Boeing 737-800 was cruising at high altitude when it suddenly launched into a nearly vertical descent, plunging down a mountain at extreme speed. Data from a black box recovered from the accident suggests that the inputs in the controls pushed the plane into the fatal dive,” said the WSJ reported May 17, citing unnamed people “familiar with U.S. officials’ preliminary assessment of what led to the crash.”
Reuters reported on May 18 that investigators of the China Eastern Airlines incident “are investigating whether the crash was a ‘intentional’ act involving crew interventions on the controls”, citing an unnamed source.
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