Chinese Navy Helicopter Disrupts Philippine Researchers

A People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Z-8J helicopter harassed a crew of Philippine researchers surveying sandbars cay-3 and cay-4 near the Philippine-owned Pag-asa Island (Thitu Island) on Saturday, March 23rd.

Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commodore Jay Tarriela, said the chopper had a tail identification number of 57, and flew around 65 feet (20 meters) above the researchers surveying Cays 3 and 4, part of the island’s four sandbars.

The same official said the downwash was a “dangerous” move to force the crew to leave the island. The aircraft flew around at a low altitude for about five minutes.

The survey is a maritime research mission measuring sandbar reef biodiversity by the University of the Philippines Institute of Biology, Department of Agriculture-National Fisheries Research and Development, the PCG, and the Institute of Biology, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

On the same day, a resupply mission by the PCG was interrupted by the China Coast Guard (CCG), where they fired water cannons at PCG ships, injuring the crew and heavily damaging one of the vessels.