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Japanese fighter jet crashes, two pilots hurt

A Japanese fighter jet crashes an instant after takeoff and goes up in flames at an airport in central Japan, lightly injuring two pilots.
AP | By HT Correspondent, Tokyo
UPDATED ON OCT 31, 2007 12:54 PM IST

A Japanese fighter jet crashed soon after takeoff and went up in flames at an airport in central Japan, lightly injuring the two pilots, an official for aircraft's manufacturer has said.

The F-2B fighter was being taken up on a test flight prior to delivery to Japan's air force when it crashed, said Hideo Ikuno, a spokesman for the Daiya public relations firm representing the plane's maker, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, on Wednesday.

Footage on commercial broadcaster TV Asahi showed the jet takeoff from the runway in Nagoya, only to suddenly tip downward and skid along the ground in flames. National broadcaster NHK showed the pilots jumping from the burning fuselage.

The flames were extinguished about 10 minutes after the crash, Ikuno said. The two crew members, both Mitsubishi Heavy employees, were taken to a hospital with light injuries, Ikuno said.

The two were the only ones aboard.

Ikuno said the company was seeking further details about the cause of the crash. Nagoya airport was closed indefinitely, spokesman Shinji Ono said.

The F-2 is Japan's operational support fighter.

In August, a China Airlines Boeing 737 exploded in a fireball just seconds after all 157 passengers and eight crew had evacuated safely on to the tarmac at Okinawa's Naha airport in southern Japan.

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