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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Air Force to help probe Taiwanese pilot crash in France

ROC Central News Agency

012/10/04 21:15:26

Taipei, Oct. 4 (CNA) An Air Force team was set to depart for France on Thursday night to help investigate a jet fighter crash in which a Taiwanese pilot died during training operations, Air Force officials said that day.

The Air Force said it has also set up a task force in Taiwan to deal with the accident in which Lt. Col. Wang Tung-yi, 37, died during training at the Luxeuil-les-Bains airfield in eastern France the previous day.

Wang was participating in a training operation involving four Mirage 2000-5 jet fighters, France's Defense Ministry said.

Meanwhile, Gen. Denis Mercier, chief of staff of the French Air Force, issued a statement expressing sympathy to Wang's family.

The French military described Wang as an experienced pilot who had logged 1,500 hours of flight time in the Mirage 2000-5.

The warplane was owned by France, said Wu Wan-chiao, director of Taiwan's Air Force Command Headquarters' Department of Political Warfare.

Both sides have signed a contract on the exchange program, which stipulates that France will be responsible for any unintended accidents that occur during training operations, Wu said.

Taiwan sends a pilot to France biennially on a two-year training program that is part of an arms package of 60 Mirage 2000-5s, which Taiwan purchased from France in 1992.

Wang arrived in France in 2010 and was set to finish the program in November, Taiwan Air Force officials said. His wife and daughter were also in France with him, they added.

Asked whether the accident will affect the training program, the Air Force said the program is part of the arms deal and "will remain unchanged."

(By Elaine Hou, Tsai Hsiao-yin and Chen Pei-huang)

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