Vietnam searches for jet fighter gone missing on training


HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam sent four aircraft and dozens of vessels to search for a jet fighter carrying two pilots that went missing Tuesday on a training flight.

The last contact with the Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 MK2 jet fighter was Tuesday morning.

The state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted fisherman Le Van Cuong as saying he saw a jet fighter crash near Mat island off the coast of central Nghe An province. Rescuers also discovered oil traces near the island, it quoted provincial border guard official Nguyen Cong Luc as saying.

At least two crashes of military helicopters in the past two years have killed 24 people.

Faced with China’s increased assertiveness over rival territorial claims in the South China Sea, Vietnam has stepped up the modernization of its military with the purchase of six Russian-made submarines and a number of Russian fighter planes. It is also looking to acquire patrol boats from Japan and India.

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This story has been corrected to show that 24 people were killed in two helicopter crashes, not 25.