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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Mirage fighter pilot's ashes brought home from France

ROC Central News Agency

2012/10/12 12:02:26

Taipei, Oct. 12 (CNA) Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu paid tribute to a Taiwanese Air Force jet fighter pilot who died in a recent crash in France, as the pilot's remains were brought home Friday.

Kao and Air Force Commanding General Yen Ming met the family of Lt. Col. Wang Tung-yi at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport upon their return from France with the ashes of the pilot, who died in crash during a training mission on Oct.3.

The returning family members included Wang's mother and his brother, who carried the urn with the pilot's ashes at Taoyuan airport.

Wang's remains will be kept at an air base in Hsinchu, where a memorial service is scheduled to be held Oct. 15.

On that occasion, Wang will be honored with a presidential citation and a medal for his excellent performance and dedication to his mission.

Earlier this week, a funeral was held for Wang at a French air base in eastern France, where he was in training. During the funeral service, the Taiwanese pilot was posthumously awarded a flying medal by the French Air Force.

Wang, 37, died during a training operation in eastern France. His Mirage 2000-5 jet fighter lost contact shortly after takeoff from Luxeuil Air Base and crashed into a wooded area some 500 meters from a cluster of houses, according to French reports.

The cause of the crash is still being investigated.

The French Air Force said that in the final moments of the flight, Wang made a conscious effort to steer the plane clear of residential communities in the Luxeuil-les-Bains area to prevent loss of life.

Wang went to France in 2010 for flight training and was set to finish his two-year program there in November.

Taiwan sends a pilot to France biennially to undertake a two-year training program that is part of a 1992 arms deal in which Taiwan bought 60 Mirage 2000-5s from France.

The Air Force said Thursday that its Mirage 2000-5s are now back in service, after a suspension following the crash in France.

(By Chiu Chun-chin and Sofia Wu)
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