BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Asia-Pacific
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Thursday, 14 June, 2001, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
Work begins to return spy plane
Stranded US spy plane
The EP-3 spy plane has been stranded since April
A six-member American team has started work to dismantle and ship home the damaged spy plane which has been stranded on a Chinese military base since it collided with a Chinese jet in April.

The EP-3 plane is to be loaded onto two Russian cargo aircraft and flown from Hainan island in the South China Sea to a United States air base on the Japanese island of Okinawa.

A lengthy stand-off ensued after the mid-air collision in which a Chinese pilot died.

Work to load the parts onto the two Russian Antonov 124s is expected to take nearly a month.

Diplomatic row

Spokesmen for the US Embassy in Beijing and the Chinese Foreign Ministry said they had no information on the progress of the dismantling work.

Russian-built Antonov
The Russian Antonov is one of the world's largest cargo planes
China rejected a US proposal to repair the plane and fly it home, apparently hoping to punish Washington for the incident by forcing it to destroy its aircraft in order to retrieve it.

The mid-air collision caused a serious diplomatic row between the two countries.

China held the 24-member crew of the US spy plane for 11 days before allowing them to return home. The impasse ended only after Washington said it was "very sorry" that the Chinese pilot had died and the American plane had landed without permission.

Lockheed Martin, the US plane's builder, is handling the dismantling. The US Navy said Lockheed is paying a Chinese contractor, HNA Hotel, $75,724 for rental vehicles, equipment storage and other services on Hainan.

A Russian company, Polyot Air Cargo Ltd. of Voronezh, has won the contract to return the dismantled plane. The Navy did not say how much it was paying Polyot.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

10 Jun 01 | Europe
Russians to fly out spy plane
07 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific
China and US seal spy plane deal
04 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
US spy plane 'could fly home'
03 May 01 | Americas
US 'split' on China policy
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories