Friday, October 14, 2011
(AFP) – 8 hours ago
BEIJING — A fighter jet plunged to the ground and exploded as it took part in an air display at a show in northern China Friday, leaving one pilot missing, organisers and state media said.
China's state-run television CCTV showed images of the Chinese-made plane falling from the sky and bursting into flames when it hit the ground at the show in Xian, capital of Shaanxi province.
"One pilot parachuted out of the plane and is alive, the search for another pilot is ongoing," the China International General Aviation Convention -- organisers of the air show -- told AFP in a statement.
"There were no casualties on the ground."
The organisers did not say what type of fighter plane was involved in the crash. The official Xinhua news agency said it was a two-seat, fighter-bomber Flying Leopard -- or JH-7 -- a model officially launched in December 1988.
But CCTV said it was a Xiaolong ("Fierce Dragon") fighter jet -- or FC-1 -- which is the result of a joint Sino-Pakistani development programme that started in 1999.
"The plane had some malfunction and an investigation team has been sent to the scene," a spokeswoman at the aviation convention held in Xian's Pucheng Neifu airport told AFP earlier.
Xinhua reporters who were at the air display said they saw heavy smoke billowing from the ground after the crash, but added the show was continuing.
According to the People's Daily newspaper, some 100 foreign and domestic planes are being shown at the air show, and around 30 aircraft are putting on displays.
Posted by Steve Douglass at 5:23 AM