Wang Wei (pilot)

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Wang Wei (王偉 1968/1969 - April 1, 2001) was a pilot in the People's Liberation Army Air Force whose J-8 fighter jet hit the wing of an American EP-3E surveillance plane about 70 miles off the coast of the Chinese island of Hainan. Wang ejected from the plane and was lost.

The Chinese claimed the U.S. surveillance plane rammed Wang's fighter, while the Americans claimed Wang flew dangerously close to the much larger, slower, and less maneuverable surveillance plane. That day, J-8s approached the EP-3 with less than 10 meters to spare six times, and twice came within three meters before Wang's fighter hit the plane on the 44th intercept. Crew members claimed they had on previous flights seen Wang fly so close that when he held up a piece of paper containing an e-mail address, it was readable. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld later showed a video of a J-8 pilot flying dangerously close and nearly hitting another EP-3E two weeks earlier, saying the pilot may have been Wang.

On April 14, the Chinese ended their search, which covered an area of 83,000 square kilometers, for the 32-year-old pilot, declaring him missing and presumed dead. Later that day, a Navy Committee of the Communist Party of China declared him a martyr.

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