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Remains of F-16V pilot found in western Taiwan

Suspected remains of Captain Chen I found off Chiayi County's Dongshi Township coast

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Captian Chen I. (Facebook, Taiwan Air Force photo)

Captian Chen I. (Facebook, Taiwan Air Force photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Suspected remains of the crashed F-16V pilot were found by search and rescue teams on Thursday (Jan. 13).

During a training exercise off Chiayi County's Dongshi Township coast on Tuesday (Jan. 11), an F-16V fighter suddenly disappeared from radar screens, and ground crews lost contact with the pilot, Captain Chen I (陳奕). After two days of searching by land, sea, and air, search and rescue crews at 4 p.m. on Thursday began to find some of what are believed to be Chen's remains as well as his aviator flight suit about one kilometer off the coast of the northern section of the Aogu Wetlands and Forest Park, in Chiayi County's Dongshi Township, according to Air Force Command Headquarters.

Underwater search and rescue personnel reportedly found a human thumb, skin, bone fragments, and shreds of his flight suit, and sent the remains to the Chiayi Funeral Home. Investigators asked family members to provide DNA samples to verify they are Chen's remains.

The Air Force Command Headquarters stated on Thursday that in addition to finding some wreckage of the fuselage and wing, the Navy's underwater operations brigade dispatched by the "Search and Rescue Forward Command Post" also found the ejection seat and traces of its occupant at 4 p.m. The wreckage, severely damaged aviator suit, and suspected human remains have been collected by investigators from the Chiayi District Prosecutor's Office and handed over to forensic pathologists to expedite the identification process.