2011/11/19

Crashed Chinese plane from navy: rights group

BEIJING, November 19, 2011 (AFP) - A plane that crashed and exploded in eastern China on November 7 has been identified as a navy aircraft in a local television broadcast of a memorial for the pilot, a rights group said Saturday.

The identification confirms that this was the second Chinese military air crash in just under a month, after a fighter jet plunged to the ground and exploded at an air show in October, killing one of the pilots on board.

The memorial for the pilot who died in the November crash in Zhejiang province was broadcast on November 16 by the local television station in his birthplace, Zouping City in Shandong, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said.

An Internet link to the Zouping TV broadcast was broken, but the official Xinhua news agency published on Friday a photo of the uniformed pilot taken from the station's memorial.

"A plane from China's navy crashed on November 7 and the pilot died," Xinhua's Chinese language service said, citing the Zouping TV video.

"The video said Ming Jian died on November 7 flying a training mission. Ming Jian was the pilot, so the crashed plane should be a two-seater fighter-bomber or a larger aircraft," Xinhua said.

At the time of the crash, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, whose founder has extensive contacts in China, said that soldiers were seen blocking and clearing the scene.