Taiwan jet fighter disappears
ROC Central News Agency
By Maubo Chang
Taipei, Oct. 20 (CNA) Debris from an Air Force jet fighter that apparently crashed on a training mission over the island county of Penghu has been collected from waters near an uninhabited islet of the county Monday afternoon, a spokesman for the Chingchuankang Airbase in Taichung said.
The debris, including a safety jacket, a flight helmet and fragments of cockpit seats, were fished out of the sea near Maoyu, or "Cat Islet, " Col. Chang Chao-kui said.
These items have been identified by Air Force personnel as originating from the missing indigenous defense fighter (IDF).
The Air Force said earlier Monday that IDF No. 1615, stationed at Chingchuankang Airbase in Taichung County, disappeared from radar screens while on a training mission over Penghu in the Taiwan Strait Monday morning.
The jet fighter took off from Chingchuangkang at 9: 15 a.m. for a bombing training mission over Penghu and disappeared 30 minutes later near Huayu island in Penghu County, according to an Air Force statement.
The two officers onboard the plane, pilot Capt. Ku Chih-bin and co-pilot Capt. Chen Jian-ting, have not been unaccounted for, according to the statement.
An extensive air and sea search conducted by Air Force planes and boats from the Penghu Coast Guard office began immediately after the plane went missing, the statement said.
The IDF, developed by Taiwan in the 1980s with assistance from the U.S., is one of four types of second generation Air Force jet fighters.
Taiwan has 130 IDFs, which are stationed mainly on airbases in the western areas of the country, across the Taiwan Strait from China, because of their quick takeoff time.
Monday's apparent accident was the fifth mishap to befell an IDF fighter since the model was introduced to Taiwan's Air Force in 1988.
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