China’s showpiece fighter jet crashes on test flight; 7 hurt

5:55:00 PM
BEIJING, -- At least seven persons were injured when an advanced Chinese multi-role fighter jet crashed into a residential compound during a test flight in the country’s southwest.

The pilot ejected safely but at least seven persons received burn injuries after the jet struck a newly constructed residential building before plunging into an artificial lake inside the compound at Chengdu in Sichuan province, yesterday.

The jet, operated by the Chengdu military command and said to be a prototype of an advanced Jian 10-B fighter, may have been on a test flight, Hong Kong based South China Morning Post reported today.

Staff at the hospital refused to comment on the condition of the victims, the report said.

The cause of the accident was not yet reported.

The crash site is just 10km northwest of the central commercial district of Chengdu, which is also very close to an air force base.

The jet witnesses’ photos posted on Weibo, akin to Twitter showed the fighter jet’s Russian-made engine lying in water, broken into two pieces.

The multi-role fighter aircraft Jian 10-B is designed and produced by Chengdu Aircraft Corporation.

Military analysts believe the aircraft crashed minutes after taking off.

Police sealed the scene soon after the pilot reported the crash and his whereabouts to his base, the Chengdu-based Huaxi Metropolis Daily reported adding that he was taken away by a military vehicle a few minutes later.

Beijing-based military expert Li Jie said the pilot had been trained to land in sparsely populated areas in the event of an aircraft malfunction.

“There are many reasons why the jet crashed. It could have been an engine problem, loss of communications, even poor visibility, Li said, adding that yesterday’s weather report mentioned heavy cloud over Chengdu.

Last December, a PLA pilot died after his single-seat Jian-8 fighter crashed in Anji county, Zhejiang, during a night exercise.

China is currently developing a number of new generation aircraft including a stealth fighter J-31 which was displayed for the first time at an air show currently underway in Zhuhai city in China.

 PLAAF's J-10B (Jian-10B) MultiRole Fighter Aircraft test flight.


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