aviation accidents

Pilot killed as Taiwan fighter jet crashes into sea

Agence France-Presse

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Pilot killed as Taiwan fighter jet crashes into sea

A pictures taken on May 25, 2011 shows an F-5 jet parked on the tarmac at an airbase in Taiwan's eastern Hualien city. Two jets of Taiwanese air force -- an RF-5 and a twin-seat F-5F -- crashed into a mountain in the east on September 13, 2011, killing three pilots. The tragedy has sparked calls for the US to sell the island new planes and save its pilots "risking their lives" in old aircraft. AFP PHOTO / ANTHONY CHANG (Photo by ANTHONY CHANG / AFP)


The Taiwan air force says the pilot ejected from the F-5E jet after reporting an engine malfunction shortly after take-off. He was rescued from the sea unconscious and could not be revived.

A Taiwanese pilot was killed Thursday, October 29, after his fighter jet crashed off the island’s eastern coast during routine training, the air force said, in the second fatal air crash in 3 months.

Pilot Chu Kuang-meng ejected from the F-5E jet after reporting an engine malfunction shortly after take-off, the air force said.

The 29-year-old was rescued from the sea unconscious but could not be revived.

The crash comes as Taiwan’s aged and under-equipped air force is forced to meet an unprecedented level of incursions into its defense zone by Chinese fighters.

The island says it has scrambled its fighters at double the rate of last year in an effort to warn off Chinese jets.

Beijing views self-ruled democratic Taiwan as its own territory and has vowed to one day seize it back, by force if necessary.

Analysts say China’s increased buzzing of Taiwan is a way to test the island’s defense responses, but also wear out its fighters.

The F-5E is an older generation fighter with a design that dates back to the 1960s.

Air force chief of staff Huang Chih-wei told reporters that all F-5 fighters have been grounded for safety checks since the crash.

In July, two crew members were killed in a helicopter crash as Taiwan’s military held drills across the island, including one simulating coastal assaults from China.

Taiwan has lived with the threat of invasion by China since the two sides split in 1949 after a civil war.

Beijing has piled military, economic and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen’s election in 2016, in part due to her refusal to acknowledge its stance that the island is part of “one China”. – Rappler.com

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