COLOMBO, March 1, 2007 (AFP) – A Sri Lankan air force trainee pilot and his instructor were killed Thursday when their plane crashed, an official said Thursday. The Chinese-built training aircraft crashed at Anuradhapura, 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of the capital during a routine exercise, an airforce official said, adding that investigations were underway.
The Sri Lankan air force has stepped up attacks against Tamil Tiger rebels since April last year in concert with ground attacks.
Sri Lanka’s Tamil separatist campaign led by the Tigers has claimed more than 60,000 lives in the past 35 years.
An upsurge of violence in the past year has claimed nearly 4,000 lives in violation of a 2002 ceasefire.