China mourns first female J-10 pilot after death in training

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China is mourning the death of Yu Xu, the country’s first female J-10 jet pilot who was killed during an aerobatic training session on Saturday.

Ms Yu hit the the wing of another aircraft while trying to pull open the parachute, Chinese media reported.

The domestically made jet crashed into a field in Tangshan, Hebei province.

“We have lost a comrade and the air force feels great pain and sadness for Yu Xu’s sacrifice,” said China’s Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke.

Another pilot, 35, survived the crash. He has already been discharged from hospital, the Beijing News reported.

The black box and the engine of the aircraft have already been retrieved. An investigation is underway.

Ms Yu, from Sichuan province, joined the Air Force in 2005. She was the first of four female pilots to qualify to fly the two-seater, multi-role J-10 fighter jet.

“I am very lucky that I can fly,” Ms Yu had said in an interview. “I don’t need to think about anything but flying. If possible, I can look at the skies to divert my attention. It is another world. It’s wonderful.”

Many netizens expressed sadness at the sudden death of Ms Yu, who was affectionately known as “golden peacock”.

“(Ms Yu) left the world at most beautiful stage of one’s life. What a saddening loss,” internet user Dong Tao Jun wrote on Weibo.

Another netizen said: “Soldiers sacrifice themselves for the sake of the safety and happiness of the people… We are thankful for the contribution of soldiers.”

However, three crashes involving the J-10 fighter jets took place last year, and some people were dissatisfied with the way state media reported her death.

“It is more important to investigate the causes of the accident. Was it a design problem? Was it a problem with the procedures? Was it because of inadequate training?”

“[The reports] shouldn’t just be about arousing emotions. We will only be able to avoid similar accidents if the causes of the accident are found,” said one Weibo user.

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