Chinese fighter jet hits homes, one dead

·2-min read

A fighter jet has crashed into houses during a training mission in central China, killing one person on the ground and injuring two others.

The report from state media was unusual because China generally keeps military accidents under wraps or emphasises the heroic role of the pilot in avoiding casualties on the ground.

Foreign governments have recently complained of reckless flying by Chinese fighter jets they said endangered crews on their own military surveillance planes.

The People's Daily reported on Thursday the J-7 aircraft went down near an airport in Xiangyang in Hubei province.

The pilot ejected safely but "some residential buildings were damaged", the report said.

It did not say when the crash occurred, reporting that the pilot and those injured were taken to a hospital.

The J-7 is an older model, single-engine aircraft with its origins in the Soviet MiG-21 dating from the 1950s. It was produced for almost 50 years until production ended in 2013.

Large numbers remain in service to provide regional air protection.

China 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 scrutiny in recent months following the still-unexplained crash of a China Eastern Airlines passenger jet on March 21 in which all 132 people on board were killed.

And on May 12, a Tibet Airlines flight with 122 people on board was departing from the southwestern city of Chongqing when it veered off the runway and caught fire.

No one was killed in that incident, but several passengers sustained minor injuries.

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

On May 26, Australia said, a Chinese fighter jet committed a dangerous act of aggression against an Australian air force plane conducting surveillance in the South China Sea.

The Chinese J-16 accelerated and cut in front of the Australian plane, releasing chaff with small bits of aluminium designed to confuse radars that was sucked into the latter's engine, Defence Minister Richard Marles said.

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

China has defended the actions of its pilots and blamed foreign countries for conducting close-in surveillance of its territory.

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