One person was killed and two others were injured after a Chinese J-7 fighter jet crashed into houses during a training mission in central China, Global Times reported.
Reports of military accidents in China are unusual because China typically keeps them under wraps or emphasizes the pilot’s heroism in preventing casualties on the ground.
Chinese fighter jets have recently been criticized for reckless flying by foreign governments, which they claim endangered crews on their own military surveillance planes.
On Thursday morning, CCTV’s military channel reported that a J-7 aircraft went down near an airport in Xiangyang, Hubei province. Some residential buildings were damaged as a result of the pilot’s ejection, according to reports.
The pilot and the injured were taken to a hospital, and the cause of the crash is still being investigated.
An older model, single-engine aircraft inspired by the Soviet MiG-21, the J-7 was in production from the 1950s until 2013 when production ended.
The Chengdu J-7 is a fighter aircraft of the People’s Republic of China. Several of the aircraft’s similarities can be attributed to its license-built version of the Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21.
The aircraft is armed with short-range, infrared homing air-to-air missiles and is designed for short-range air-to-air combat in China.
There are still a large number of these jets in service, however, for the protection of regional airspace. Over a dozen countries also bought the F-7, which has since been retired by most of them.
Recently, China’s civil aviation industry has come under scrutiny following the still-unexplained crash of a China Eastern Airlines passenger jet on March 21, which killed all 132 people on board.
On May 12, a Tibet Airlines flight with 122 people on board veered off the runway and caught fire as it was departing the city of Chongqing. There were no fatalities, but a few minor injuries were reported.
Chinese fighter pilots have recently been accused of reckless flying by Australia and Canada.
The Canadian military alleges that Chinese planes diverted a long-range patrol aircraft from its path on June 1 and that the crew had to quickly change directions to avoid a collision.
On May 26, a Chinese fighter jet committed a dangerous act of aggression against an Australian air force plane conducting aerial surveillance in the South China Sea.
Defense Minister Richard Marles said the Chinese J-16 accelerated and cut in front of the Australian plane, releasing aluminum chaff designed to confuse radars that were sucked into the latter’s engine.
Pilots in China have defended their actions against close-in surveillance by foreign countries aimed at containing Chinese development.