Two fighter pilots die in Hainan jet crash

China | AGENCIES 13 Mar 2019

A Chinese navy fighter jet crashed during a training mission on Hainan island, killing two pilots, the defense ministry said.

There were "no casualties on the ground," the ministry said, adding that the cause of the crash - which took place in Ledong county in the mountainous and heavily forested tropical province - was under investigation.

The military, which is undergoing a well-funded modernization drive, has had other accidents in recent years.

An air force plane crashed in Guizhou province during a training exercise in January last year, killing crew members onboard.

State media reported the crash of an aircraft carrier-based J-15 fighter in April 2018 during training, resulting in the death of the pilot. In 2015, two pilots died during a training session when their plane engine caught fire shortly after take off.

Beijing announced last week a 7.5 percent increase in military spending to 1.19 trillion yuan in 2019, a lower rise than last year as the country faces an economic slowdown. China is working to provide the two million-strong People's Liberation Army with state-of-the-art hardware.

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