Pieces of plane searching for crashed fighter jet pilot found

Pieces of plane searching for crashed fighter jet pilot found

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Vietnamese rescuers have found pieces of a search plane that went missing with nine people on board while attempting to locate a pilot from a crashed fighter jet.

The pieces including wreckage with the logo of the search plane, a tyre, a seat and personal belongings of crew members were discovered 20 nautical miles (23 miles) south-east of Bach Long Vi island and 3 nautical miles east of the demarcation line between Vietnam and China in the Gulf of Tonkin, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

The plane lost contact with its command centre early on Thursday afternoon.

Online newspaper VnExpress reported that the body of the missing fighter jet pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Tran Quang Khai, was found on Friday afternoon by a fisherman off the coast of the northern province of Thanh Hoa. It said the body was found wrapped in a parachute.

One other pilot from the Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 MK2 jet fighter, which crashed on Tuesday on a training flight, was rescued by a fishing boat on Wednesday.

About 1,500 personnel were sent to search for the pilot.

Reports said bad weather may have been responsible for the crash of the search plane.

VnExpress quoted Major General Nguyen Quang Dam, commander of maritime police, as saying the crew had asked to descend to a lower altitude because of the weather.

The crashes were the latest in a string of accidents to hit the military. At least two crashes of military helicopters in the past two years have killed 24 people.

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