Sunday, October 31, 2010


In March 2001 an American EP-3 Orion flying a routine signals intelligence collection mission off the coast of the People’s Republic of China was intercepted by a pair of J-8 jet fighters, one of which accidentally collided with the U.S. plane. The pilot succeeded in landing the badly damaged aircraft on Hainan Island where Chinese troops arrested the crew of 24 and examined the sophisticated intercept equipment. After 11 days of tense diplomatic negotiations, the crew was released and the plane was dismantled, packed into two huge cargo planes, and flown back to the United States.