Military planes crash in PRC; 22 people dead


Two military planes crashed in northern mainland China, killing as many as 22 people, including six family members in a house hit by debris, doctors in local hospitals said Wednesday.

The two planes crashed Jan. 4 in Xianrenzhuang, a farm town near the city of Kaifeng in Henan province, the doctors said. The area is 1,100 kilometers (600 miles) southwest of Beijing. Sixteen people aboard the two planes were killed in the 1:00 p.m. crash, said a doctor at the Kaifeng County No. 115 Military Hospital. She gave only her surname, Zhao.

One plane hit the house of a family named Liu, killing the mother, all four grandparents and another relative, said a doctor at the Xianrenzhuang Clinic. The doctor, who gave only his surname, Gao, said two other people were injured.

The father of the family, Liu Wenjun, is hospitalized with injuries but is in no danger, said Zhao.

The second plane hit a vacant field, causing no deaths or injuries on the ground, said Gao.

Details on the types of planes and how the crash occurred, including whether they collided in midair, weren’t immediately available. A paratrooper division is based in Kaifeng.

Mainland China’s military rarely publicizes accidents. The Defense Ministry in Beijing declined to comment.

In September, 67 people were killed when a truck loaded with artillery shells exploded in a residential district of Urumqi, capital of the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

State media say the two top commanders in Xinjiang and eight other generals were replaced, and some were charged with criminal offenses.