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President orders Taiwan defense ministry to investigate cause of F-16 crash

Ministry of Defense also instructed to assist deceased pilot's family in follow-up matters

Captain Chen-I. (Facebook, Taiwan Air Force photo)

Captain Chen-I. (Facebook, Taiwan Air Force photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has instructed the Ministry of Defense (MND) to find the cause of last week's F-16 crash and to assist the pilot’s family.

Presidential Office Spokesperson Xavier Chang ( 張惇涵) on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 15) noted that multiple search teams had spent days trying to find Captain Chen I (陳奕) and that it is unfortunate the pilot died in the line of duty. Chen said the president had instructed the MND to quickly finish finding the wreckage of the downed fighter jet and conduct a comprehensive investigation into the cause of the accident.

The president also ordered the MND to provide assistance to the pilot’s family and handle follow-up matters, CNA reported. Chen added that the president urged military service members to maintain high morale, stick to their posts, and continue protecting national security.

The F-16V fighter jet crashed off the coast of Chiayi County's Dongshi Township on Tuesday (Jan. 11) during a training exercise. After two days of searching, search and rescue crews on Thursday afternoon (Jan. 13) found human remains and an aviator flight suit believed to be Chen’s off the coast of the northern section of the Aogu Wetlands and Forest Park, according to Air Force Command Headquarters.

The results closely match DNA samples from Chen’s mother, per CNA.