• Wed
  • Aug 20, 2014
  • Updated: 9:09pm

Embarrassment for PLA as photos of fatal military air crash emerge on Weibo

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 April, 2013, 11:07am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 April, 2013, 3:52pm

China’s military on Monday confirmed two pilots had died in a military plane crash over the weekend – but only after pictures and a video appeared on the internet.

The People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) said a Sukhoi Su-27 fighter plane crashed on mudflats in Rongcheng city, Shandong province, during a drill, on Sunday afternoon, according to Xinhua.

Photographs and a video clip of the crash site were uploaded onto microblogging platform Sina Weibo on Sunday afternoon and quickly went viral.  

One photograph showed the wreckage of the aircraft engulfed in flames and black smoke, while another showed fishermen trying to approach the crash site.

In a video clip circulated online, an onlooker said the plane "floated" in the air for a while before it crashed to the ground and caught fire.

According to Xinhua, the two pilots died in the accident. There were no reported casualties or damage to property among local residents.

The pilots had ejected from the plane before the crash but it was not known why they died, the Global Times reported.

The cause of the crash also remains unknown.

The twin-engine, Russian-made, Soviet-era fighter aircraft was introduced to China's military in the 1990s. The PLAAF now has about 300 Su-27s in different versions.

The Su-27 fighters have given the Chinese air force "strong capabilities in both long-range air combat and dog-fights", the Global Times quoted a military expert as saying.

The last known crash of the same type of aircraft in China took place in early 2009 when a Su-27 crashed into a mountain in Chongqing after reportedly experiencing “a series of explosions”, according to a BBC report.

In 2002, a Ukrainian Su-27 fighter lost control during an aerial acrobatics show and crashed into an audience stand, killing 83.


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This article is now closed to comments

Why headline and sensationalize this report as an 'embarrassment'?
The US air force loses planes occasionally during training accidents and video clips of these frequently make the air (like the pun?) on TV.
Why should this be an "embarrassment" because it happens to be a PLA plane, but its never an embarrassment, in your eyes, when a Western air force loses a plane under similar circumstances?
In order to attract readers, SCMP loves to use sensational and misleading titles, especially those that ridicule China.
Sadly, the journalist here is "Chris Luo", probably a mainlander himself...
Its an embarrassment because the PLA never, EVER admits anything goes wrong with their troops/equipment. In this case they were involuntary confronted with evidence.
When the US military loses equipment/personnel in accidents, they acknowledge it immediately and then have thorough investigations, possibly even grounding entire lines of aircraft.
I just hope the families of the poor lads flying that Eastern European P*O*S are adequately compensated for the loss of their sons!
But the PLA HAVE admitted they lost a plane : to wit : "China’s military on Monday confirmed two pilots had died in a military plane crash over the weekend – but only after pictures and a video appeared on the internet."
They could hardly have admitted it earlier since the i-phone-camera video was posted on the internet before the PLA could even have understood accurately what had occurred.
People should express their condolences to the loved ones of the pilots who unfortunate lost their lives serving their country. It is only this SCMP writer who should be "embarrassed".

The only time SCMP embarrassed someone they should not embarrass was in "Tibetan envoy says China can end immolations" on Mar. 28, 2013 where they implied His Holeliness was behind the hundreds of gruesome self-immolations. That piece was quickly swept under the rug by the blushing SCMP...


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