Chinese military jet crash leaves 1 dead, 2 injured and houses on fire in central Hubei province

·2-min read

One person has died and two are injured after a military jet crashed near the airport in Laohekou, Xiangyang, in central Hubei province on Thursday morning.

State broadcaster CCTV’s military channel reported that a J-7 fighter jet crashed during training. The pilot parachuted from the plane and was taken to hospital for examination and treatment along with two injured members of the public.

The cause of the crash and whether there are other casualties are being further investigated, CCTV Military reported.

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Video posted by state news agency Xinhua and circulating on social media shows several houses on fire at the scene.

Emergency department personnel rushed to the crash site, according to Xinhua.

Video captured at the scene of the plane crash showed damage to buildings. Photo: Weibo
Video captured at the scene of the plane crash showed damage to buildings. Photo: Weibo

Laohekou Airport is now mainly used as a training site for new fighter pilots from the Central Theatre Command Air Force. The airport, which has a 5,960-metre (19,500-foot) runway, stopped serving civil aviation routes after the Liuji Airport in Xiangyang opened in 1989.

There have been several other cases of fighter jets crashing during training flights in China. In 2015, a Chinese air force pilot parachuted to safety moments before his aircraft crashed into a hillside. Two years before that, a military pilot died when his fighter jet crashed during night training in eastern Zhejiang.

The J-7 fighter jet was developed in China in the 1960s and is designed mainly for short-range air-to-air combat. Its production was suspended in 2013 and a derivative aircraft is now mainly used for pilot training.

It comes after a China Eastern Airlines plane crashed into a mountainous area of the southern Guangxi Zhuang region in March, killing all 132 passengers and crew on board – the country’s deadliest air disaster in decades. The Boeing 737-800 aircraft was en route from Kunming to Guangzhou when it plummeted from a cruising altitude of 8,900 metres (29,199 feet), according to China’s civil aviation authority. An investigation into the cause of the crash is still under way.

The Wall Street Journal last month reported that the flight controls had pushed the plane into a dive – suggesting it was sent on a nosedive intentionally, citing people familiar with US officials’ early assessment of the crash.

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