Chinese fighter jet crashes into houses, killing 1 on the ground

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BEIJING — A Chinese Air Force fighter jet crashed into houses during a training mission in central China, killing one person on the ground and injuring two others, it said. official media.

The reports were unusual because China usually keeps military accidents secret or emphasizes the pilot’s heroic role in avoiding casualties on the ground. Foreign governments have recently complained about the reckless flight of Chinese fighter jets, they say, endangering the crews of their own military surveillance planes.

State broadcaster CCTV’s military channel reported that the J-7 plane crashed Thursday morning near an airport in Xiangyang, Hubei province. The pilot ejected safely but some residential buildings were damaged, according to reports.

The pilot and the injured were taken to hospital and the cause of the crash is being investigated.

The J-7 is an early model single-engine aircraft whose origins date back to the Soviet MiG-21 from the 1950s and was produced for nearly 50 years until production ended in 2013.

A large number, however, remain in service to provide regional air protection. China also sold an export version, the F-7, to more than a dozen countries, many of which have since retired the planes.

China’s civil aviation industry has come under intense scrutiny in recent months following the unexplained crash of a China Eastern Airlines jetliner on March 21, in which the 132 people on board were killed.

And on May 12, a Tibet Airlines flight with 122 people on board was taking off from the southwestern city of Chongqing when it veered off the runway and burst into flames. No one was killed, but several passengers were slightly injured.

Australia and Canada have recently raised concerns about reckless flights by Chinese fighter pilots.

In a June 1 statement, the Canadian military said Chinese planes tried to divert a Canadian long-range patrol plane off course and the crew had to change direction quickly to avoid a collision. .

Australia said a Chinese fighter jet carried out a dangerous act of aggression on May 26 against an Australian Air Force aircraft carrying out aerial surveillance in the South China Sea.

The Chinese J-16 accelerated and cut in front of the Australian plane, releasing chaff with small pieces of aluminum meant to confuse radars that were sucked into the latter’s engine, the Australian defense minister said, Richard Marles.

China has defended the actions of its pilots and accused foreign countries of exercising close surveillance of its territory to contain Chinese development.

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