One pilot killed in Vietnam Air Force jet trainer crash

Thanh Nien News/AFP

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A Vietnamese trainee pilot was killed when his fighter jet crashed into a rice field, an official said Friday, the third deadly military plane accident since June.
The pilot, identified as  Sergeant Major Pham Duc Trung, 24, was the only one on board when the plane went down in south-central Vietnam, the Ministry of Defense said on television.
 Sergeant Major Pham Duc Trung (R). Photo: CTV
The fighter jet crashed crashed into National Highway 1 before plunging into a rice field 
The Czechoslovakia-made Aero L-39 Albatros fighter jet belonged to the air force pilot training college near the crash site in coastal Phu Yen Province, chief administrator of the provincial people's committee told AFP.
During its training session, the fighter jet crashed crashed into National Highway 1 before plunging into a rice field, killing the trainee pilot on board, Ho Thi Nguyen Thao said.
She corrected earlier reports that a civilian was killed in the crash, saying the man, identified as Dang Hung, was injured. 
 Dang Hung, who lives in Phu Yen Provine, was injured when the jet trainer crashed into the National Highway 1
According to the defense ministry, the jet took off at 8.40 a.m. on a training mission. Its engine failed 5 minutes into the flight.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has expressed his condolences to the deceased pilot's family and relatives, and asked the defense ministry to investigate the cause of the crash.
Though Vietnam's civilian aviation sector has a strong safety record, there have been several recent accidents involving military aircraft.
In June, a jet fighter carrying two pilots crashed during a training mission off the coast of northern Nghe An province, with only one of the pilots rescued.
Days later, a military search plane deployed to find the missing pilot lost contact and was later found crashed with all nine people on board dead.
 The L-39 fighter jets line up at the air force pilot training college in Phu Yen province. Photo: PLO
One of the worst accidents in recent years was in July 2014, when 19 people were killed after a Russian-made Mi-171 chopper crashed in the capital Hanoi during a training exercise.
Vietnam has been keen to update its almost exclusively Russian-made military hardware amid tensions with Beijing over disputed territory in the South China Sea.
It is increasingly looking to Western nations to buy military equipment, including the United States after President Barack Obama lifted a Cold War-era ban on arms sales to the country during his visit to Vietnam in May.

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