Skip to main content /WORLD /WORLD

Second Chinese pilot blames U.S. for spy plane crash

Chinese fighter pilot Zhao Yu describes incident with U.S. spy plane in interview with Chinese TV on Friday (English translation) (Audio AIFF or WAV sound)  

BEIJING (CNN) - The pilot of the second Chinese plane involved in the collision between a Chinese fighter and a U.S. surveillance plane said the U.S. plane swerved into his comrade and sent the Chinese plane plunging into the sea.

Chinese television broadcast an interview Friday with Zhao Yu, who was flying a second Chinese F-8 fighter tracking a U.S. EP-3E plane off the coast of China.

Here is the text of a translation of his comments:

"On April 1st, Wang Wei and I were on duty. At about 8:45 a.m., we took off to conduct our routine tracking mission in the airspace southeast of Hainan Island.

Watch the interview with Chinese fighter pilot Zhao Yu

Play video
(QuickTime, Real or Windows Media)

"Seven minutes after takeoff, we found a large plane to our left, 50 kilometers ahead. Wang Wei and I approached the plane and identified it as a U.S. EP-3-type surveillance plane. When the U.S. spy plane spotted us, it adjusted its navigation course. So we adjusted ours accordingly.

"At 9:05 a.m., it readjusted its course to 110 degrees. We readjusted ours once again so that we were flying at the same speed and the same direction as the U.S. spy plane. Our planes were on the inner side of Hainan and the U.S. plane was on the outer side.

"Two minutes later, the U.S. plane suddenly swerved at a wide angle toward our direction and collided over the plane Wang Wei was flying. I saw the nose and left wing of the U.S. plane bump into Wang Wei's plane and the left outer propeller of the U.S. plane's left wing smashed the vertical tail surface of Wang Wei's plane.

"The U.S. side if fully responsible for this collision. It was directly caused by the U.S. plane veering at a wide angle toward our plane making it impossible for our plane to avoid it. The U.S. plane severely violated flying rules, so they should hold full responsibility. It is our duty to identify any midair objects that would endanger our national security and to track them.

"As Wang Wei's comrade in arms on the same mission, I am especially worried for his safety. I hope our rescue efforts will bring him back to us. I am very grateful for the government's and the Navy's concern over his safety. I am indignant at the actions of the U.S. spy plane crashing our plane right at our doorsteps."

China-U.S. diplomacy battle over spy plane
April 5, 2001
Powell sends personal letter to Chinese vice premier
April 4, 2001
Navy crew struggled to land severely damaged plane
April 3, 2001
Beijing looks to get tough
April 1, 2001
Plane crew safe, China assures U.S.
April 1, 2001
U.S. Navy study 'backs Taiwan arms upgrade'
April 1, 2001
Chinese jets intercept U.S. Navy plane
April 1, 2001

The Pentagon
U.S. Navy
Navy Fact File: EP-3E ORION (ARIES II) Aircraft
U.S. Department of Defense
Government of China (in Chinese)
U.S. Department of State
Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the U.S.A.
Government Information Office, Republic of China

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.


4:30pm ET, 4/16

Back to the top