TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A Mirage-2000 fighter jet of the Taiwan Air Force disappeared from radar screens while off the coast of North Taiwan Tuesday evening with no sign thus far of the plane or pilot, according to media reports.
The French-built aircraft was on a routine mission when it vanished around 6:43 p.m, cable station TVBS said. Nothing was immediately known at the time about the fate of the pilot, named as Ho Tzu-yu, a man who had just celebrated his first wedding anniversary.
A coast guard vessel had reportedly picked up a signal and was searching the area for the jet, while the Air Force was sending an S-70C helicopter, the Central News Agency reported.
Earlier reports placed the jet near the coast of Hsinchu County, but later news said the plane had last been located close to Keelung.
Together with the F-16 supplied by the United States and the locally made Indigenous Defense Fighter, the Mirage-2000 is the mainstay of Taiwan’s Air Force.
The island ordered 60 Mirages from France which were delivered in 1997 and 1998 to be stationed at a base in Hsinchu County.