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North Korean fighter jet crashes in China

A North Korean fighter jet possibly flown by a defector ran out of fuel yesterday and crashed in China, killing the pilot.

It came down in a village in Liaoning province about 90 miles from the border , China's official News Agency said.

Government officials said “might be” North Korean.

A villager near the crash site said he and many other locals saw the plane flying low over the area before it crashed into an orchard.

“The engine was making a very strange noise and it was flying in a very weird way, with its head up and rear down,” he said.

A South Korean intelligence official said the pilot may have been attempting to defect to Russia.

South Korean military radar spotted the aircraft, believed to be a MiG-21, taking off from a base in the north east.

China does not openly criticise North Korea's government, and might be reluctant to announce a failed North Korean defection, even if it involved a military plane straying into its territory.

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