KUALA LUMPUR, June 16 Malaysia's air force
located on Friday the wreckage of a jet fighter that went
missing during a training run, a day after the aircraft's two
pilots were found dead in a forested area.
An air force helicopter on a search and recovery mission
found the British-made Hawk 108 in the Chukai district of the
northeastern state of Terengganu, the Royal Malaysian Air Force
"A safety perimeter has been set up for the purpose of
investigation and security. The RMAF is in the midst of clearing
the wreckage," the statement read.
The bodies of the jet's two pilots - Major Hasri Zahari and
Major Yazmi Mohamed Yusof - were found with their parachutes
unfurled in a swamp in Terengganu on Thursday, several hours
after the air force lost contact with their plane.
This is the first fatal incident involving a Malaysian-owned
Hawk 108 since 2003. The RMAF has ordered a temporary suspension
of its Hawk 108 fleet pending an investigation.
Malaysia's plans to upgrade its ageing fleet of fighter jets
have been complicated by defence budget cuts, as Prime Minister
Najib Razak grapples with growing public discontent over the
rising cost of living.
French arms maker Dassault Aviation SA, which
builds the Rafale fighter jet, is seen as a frontrunner to
supply up to 18 new aircraft to Malaysia's air force in a deal
that could be worth more than $2 billion.
(Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Robert Birsel)