Diaoyus-linked Chinese military airplane crashes during training mission
Aircraft was reportedly part of PLA navy's East China Sea fleet
A Chinese navy plane crashed on a training mission over the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang, the official Xinhua news agency said today, but did not say if there were casualties.
The military plane crashed late last night in a mountainous area near the city of Yiwu, it said.
Xinhua said the plane belonged to the navy’s East China Sea fleet while the military news channel of the Sina website quoted sources as saying the aircraft was a fighter-bomber JH-7 “Flying Leopard”.
The fleet’s area of responsibility includes disputed islands in the East China Sea, according to state media, which Japan administers and calls the Senkaku islands but which China also claims and names the Diaoyu Islands.
For more than a year since Tokyo nationalised some of the islands in September 2012, Chinese vessels and aircraft have regularly approached them, playing cat and mouse with the Japanese coastguard.
Search and rescue teams were looking for the crew of the crashed plane, Xinhua reported, but did not say how many people were on board. The JH-7 typically carries two.