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Taiwan air force jet and crew of 2 missing halfway between Taiwan and China

Taiwan air force jet and crew of 2 missing halfway between Taiwan and China

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An F-5F training jet with two officers on board went missing near Penghu in the middle of the Taiwan Straits, the air force said Wednesday.
All planes of the 35-year-old type were grounded while investigations into the cause of the disappearance continued, the air force announced. The jet’s maintenance records were normal, reports said.
The plane took off from Chingchuankang Air Force Base near Taichung at 11:14 a.m. with student Lieutenant Huang Ting-yu, 25, sitting in front, and teacher Lieutenant Colonel Chang Liang-yuan, 42, in the back seat.
The jet disappeared off the radar at 11:36 when it was flying near Tsaoyu or Grass Island, the air force said. The aircraft was on a routine training mission which included air-to-ground shooting, Chingchuankang spokesman Hsieh Mao-sung told reporters.
During the afternoon, the air force said it had found wreckage in the area, but it was too soon to confirm whether they were related to the missing jet and its crew. Two unopened life jackets with traces of blood and a helmet also turned up in the area, unconfirmed media reports said.
When the air force first saw the plane was missing, it sent an S-70C rescue aircraft to the area, while the coast guard sent five ships.
Huang, a single man from Kangshan in Kaohsiung County, had 294 flying hours on his record, the air force said. Chang, a married Taitung County resident with two sons, spent more than 3,000 hours flying.
The jet was originally based at Chihhang Air Force Base near Taitung, but took off from Taichung Wednesday because of works at its home site.
Three people died and four went missing during five accidents with the F-5F over the past five years, reports said.


Updated : 2021-09-20 03:09 GMT+08:00