A top scientist involved in the integrated programme of China’s aircraft carrier died of a heart attack after watching the first ever successful landing of a fighter aircraft on the ship.
China on Sunday had announced that it had successfully conducted a flight landing exercise for the first time on its only aircraft carrier, Liaoning.
It was soon after the landing that, Luo Yuan, 51 suffered a heart attack and died. He was the head of production for China's new J-15 fighter jet – designated for the carrier -- China's Shenyang Aircraft Corp. (SAC) confirmed on Monday.
Luo had the heart attack while participating in flight landing training for China's first aircraft carrier the Liaoning, around noon on Sunday, according to the obituary notice issued by the SAC, a subsidiary of China's state-owned aircraft maker, the Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC). He had a heart attack while onboard the carrier, and later died in hospital.
"Mourn General Manager Luo Yang. Luo will be immortal," read the electronic signs at the gates of the SAC, dubbed the "cradle of China's fighter jets."
The flags were flown at half-mast at the gates of the SAC on Monday, which is based in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province.
Luo, chairman and general manager of the SAC, was the head of the manufacturing and production phase of the J-15 fighter jet. A new J-15 fighter jet was used as part of the landing exercise on the carrier on Sunday.
According to Xinhua, Thousands of Chinese people, including Luo's colleagues, acquaintances and netizens, saluted the pioneers of China's military technology and extended their condolences to Luo.
"People in the SAC are in the deepest sorrow for Luo Yang. And we will remember him forever," read the obituary notice from the SAC.
China seldom reveals the names of scientists and engineers involved in its secretive military projects. It seemed to have made an exception when the national broadcaster CCTV broadcast ran the death of Luo as its first item during the day’s primary news broadcast at noon.
Later, it ran the story of Luo’s death during a section of its evening news as well.
The aircraft carrier programme is one of the prestigious defence projects that China has embarked. Though its years before the 900 feet long ship will become battle worthy, Liaoning is being seen as a symbol of China’s growing stature in the world as well as its expanding military might.
Besides China and India, the other countries which have carriers are the US (11), Russia, UK, Italy, Spain and France.