TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The crew chief from the same unit as the F-16 fighter that disappeared from radar screens last week took his own life on Sunday (Nov. 22).
At 6:07 p.m. on Nov. 17, Colonel Chiang Cheng-chih (蔣正志) of the 26th Tactical Fighter Group took off in his F-16 from Hualien Air Base. However, shortly after takeoff, the plane disappeared from radar screens and plunged into the ocean from an altitude of 2,100 meters.
On Saturday (Nov. 21), the military pinpointed the location of the aircraft's black box at a position about nine nautical miles (16.7 kilometers) away from Hualien Airport at a depth of about 1,000 m. Salvage teams have yet to recover the aircraft or retrieve the body of Chiang, who is presumed dead.
On Sunday (Nov. 22). the tactical group's crew chief, identified as Sergeant Huang (黃), was found unresponsive in his barracks at Hualien Air Base, after inflicting serious self harm, reported CNA. Air Force personnel immediately called for an ambulance, which rushed Huang to Hualien Armed Forces General Hospital.
Doctors were unable to resuscitate Huang and he was pronounced dead at the hospital. According to a preliminary investigation by the Ministry of National Defense (MND), Huang's death by suicide was not related to the F-16 disappearance.
However, an investigation is ongoing and the exact cause of Huang's death has yet to be determined.