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September 14, 2011

Three Pilots Killed as Pair of Taiwan Military Jets Crash in Mountain Range

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Written by: BNO News
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Three pilots were killed on Tuesday evening when their two military jets crashed in a mountainous region in Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said.

F-5 on display in Taiwan

F-5 on display in Taiwan.

According to the MND, the two aircraft crashed in a mountain range in Taiwan’s northeastern Yilan County at 7:48 p.m. local time, shortly after losing contact with the aircraft some 15 minutes after taking off, Ministry spokesperson Lo Shao-he told the China Post.

Three pilots on board the two fighter jets – an F-5F and RF-5E fighter jet from the 401st Tactical Fighter Wing – took off for a routine training flight at 7:39 p.m. local time from Hualien, just south of Yilan, but they soon disappeared from radar.

According to local fisherman, flames and smoke were seen on the mountain peaks near the 72.3 mile (116.4 kilometer) mark on the Suhua Highway after they witnessed two loud and apparently out of control aircraft flying at a low altitude.

The fishermen quickly contacted the army, assuming they were military aircraft. Emergency teams consisting of hundreds of soldiers, as well as firefighters, were deployed to the area to carry out search and rescue operations at the Yilan stretch of Provincial Highway No. 9.

The pilot of the RF5-E fighter jet was identified as Captain Hsiao Wen-ming, 29. Officials also identified Lieutenant Colonel Chang Chien-kuo, 41, as the pilot of the F-5F, who was with Major Wang Hong-hsiang, 36, the co-pilot.

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