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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Taiwan grounds Mirage fighters after crash in France

ROC Central News Agency

2012/10/04 14:40:24

Taipei, Oct. 4 (CNA) Air Force officials said Thursday that all of Taiwan's Mirage jet fighters have been grounded following a crash in France in which a Taiwanese pilot died during training operations.

The Air Force has suspended all flights of the French-built Mirage 2000-5s in order to conduct checks and maintenance work, said Lt. Gen. Wu Wan-chiao, director of the Air Force Command Headquarters’ Department of Political Warfare.

The flight suspension will not be lifted until the reasons for the Mirage 2000-5 crash in France have been identified, Wu said, adding that the black box of the crashed warplane had been recovered.

According to Air Force officials, Lt. Col. Wang Tung-yi, 37, died during training operations at the Luxeuil-les-Bains airfield in eastern France the previous day.

According to a Radio France Internationale report Wednesday, local people said they saw a "ball of fire" crash into a wooded area about 500 meters from a group of houses that morning.

Part of an arms sales package in which Taiwan purchased 60 Mirage 2000-5s from France in 1992, Taiwan sends a pilot to France to undertake a two-year training program every two years.

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

(By Elaine Hou and Chen Pei-huang)

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