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Wreckage of F-5E fighter jet in 2020 crash retrieved

ROC Central News Agency

04/30/2021 09:51 PM

Taipei, April 30 (CNA) The wreckage of a Taiwan Air Force F-5E fighter jet was retrieved from waters off the coast of Taitung on Friday, as authorities continue their investigation into the deadly crash that killed one pilot last October.

The salvage operation took place in waters off the coast of Taitung City near Taitung Chihhang Air Base, from where the aircraft took off in the morning of Oct. 29, 2020.

It crashed within two minutes after taking off, and though the 29-year-old pilot, Chu Kuan-meng (朱冠甍), ejected from the plane, he succumbed to head injuries.

The wreckage remained relatively intact despite the impact of the crash, and it is likely to offer more clues to the ongoing investigation, according to an Air Force official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The authorities have yet to determine the cause of the crash and the reason for Chu's injuries.

In March, Air Force Chief of Staff Huang Chih-wei (黃志偉) cited an initial investigation report as saying that mechanical failure might have caused the accident.

Chu reported signs of trouble with the engine when the fighter was taking off, said Huang, adding that video footage and eyewitness testimonies also supported the theory.

Meanwhile, prosecutors have suggested that Chu might have struck his head on the surface of the sea after ejecting from the aircraft.

Friday's operation was conducted by a private company called Dragon Prince Hydro-Survey Enterprise Co. using a research vessel.

The wreckage will be transported to Kaohsiung Port, and Taitung prosecutors will go there to proceed with the investigation, said Tseng Yang-ling (曾揚嶺), chief prosecutor at the Taitung District Prosecutors Office, on Friday.

(By Tyson Lu, Evelyn Kao and Teng Pei-ju)

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