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HANOI, April 17, 2015:

Vietnamese authorities were searching on Friday for two pilots a day after their Sukhoi Su-22 fighter jets lost contact and traces of jet fuel were spotted off the southern coast.

The two Russian-made fighter jets were on a training exercise when they disappeared around noon on Thursday, the Ministry of Defence said on its website.

A search aircraft spotted four floating jet fuel barrels and traces of fuel in the sea, the statement said. Two of the barrels were recovered.

The navy, maritime police and the coast guard were taking part in the search in the south-central province of Binh Thuan, about 1,600km south of Hanoi, said disaster official Pham Hung Tan.

The accident is the latest setback for the Vietnamese military after two helicopter crashes killed 24 military personnel in the past nine months.

Russia remains the communist country’s main supplier of military hardware.

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