WASHINGTON -- Although its wings and tail might be separated from its fuselage, a damaged U.S. surveillance plane stuck in China finally would be sent home under a tentative U.S.-Chinese agreement.
The EP-3, a four-engine turboprop about the size of a Boeing 737, would make its journey in the belly of one or more giant transport planes, possibly the Russian-designed AN-124, U.S. and Chinese officials said Monday.
No timetable was set for the return of the Navy plane, which collided with a Chinese fighter jet over the South China Sea on April 1. The 11-day detention of the plane's 24-member crew and China's reluctance to return the aircraft from Hainan island, where it made an emergency landing, put a considerable strain on already-touchy U.S.-Chinese relations.
"We said ... we wanted to get the plane back via the quickest possible means. This is one way to get it out in an expedited way," said an official
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