Pilot killed in Taiwan jet crash, all F-5E fighters grounded


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HONG KONG, Oct 30 (SCMP): A Taiwanese air force F-5E fighter jet has crashed in the sea off the coast of the eastern county of Taitung on a routine training mission, killing the pilot and prompting the military to ground all similar ageing aircraft which have been in use for more than four decades.

The single-seated F-5E took off from the Chihang airbase in Taitung at 7.29am when the pilot almost immediately reported a mechanical problem in the right engine over the radio, air force chief of staff Huang Chih-wei said in a news conference in Taipei on Thursday.

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The pilot, identified as Chu Kuan-meng, was on routine air combat and defence training. He managed to eject from the jet before impact but rescuers found no vital signs, Huang said.

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“We sent a helicopter to look for him at 7:32am ... and when the rescuers found him and carried him to the helicopter, he had already lost consciousness,” Huang said, adding the pilot was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“We are still investigating the exact cause of the crash,” Huang said, adding the air force had ordered the grounding of all its F-5E jets. - South China Morning Post

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