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Two pilots killed in Chinese naval plane crash

China military plane

Beijing: Two pilots of a Chinese navy plane were killed instantly when their training aircraft crashed after its engine caught fire, the navy said today, lauding their “heroic sacrifice” for steering their burning plane away from a densely populated residential area.

An instructor, 27-year-old Jiang Tao, and his student, 22-year-old Lu Pengfei, from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy Flight School died in a Navy aircraft accident on May 13 in northeast China’s Liaoning Province, the Navy said.

The Navy released the news on its microblog, saying that the two pilots were killed after failing to engage their parachutes after they had successfully avoided crashing in a densely populated area.

“After successfully flying the plane to avoid a densely populated area and their height being too low to parachute, they made a heroic sacrifice,” it said in a post on the accident which occurred two weeks ago.

The post on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo service also included several photographs of the two men during training, posing in their dress uniforms and singing.

After discovering that the aircraft’s engine was on fire shortly after taking off, the two pilots turned the aircraft away from villages, residential buildings, hospitals and a business area and dived into woods, state-run Xinhua news agency reported separately.

It was only 17 seconds between observing the fire and the crash. There was not enough time or sufficient height for the two pilots to parachute from the burning aircraft, according to the Chinese Navy.

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