One of the most advanced F-16V fighter jets in Taiwan’s air force fleet has gone missing after witnesses said they saw the plane crash into the sea. Search and rescue operations are underway.
The plane went missing from Air Force radar on Tuesday afternoon shortly after taking off from Chiayi Air Force Base in the southern part of the island. The government’s rescue command center said witnesses told them they saw the plane crash into the sea.
President Tsai Ing-wen asks to spare no effort in search and rescue operations, asks officials to work “Further clarify the cause of the accident,” her spokesman said.
Tuesday’s incident was the latest in the Taiwanese Air Force. Last year, two aging F-5E fighter jets that served in the 1970s plunged into the sea after an apparent mid-air collision during a training exercise.
In 2020, an F-16 took off from Hualien Air Force Base on Taiwan’s east coast and went missing during another training exercise.
In recent years, China has repeatedly invaded, repeatedly testing the determination of the Air Force. Beijing claims the island is an inalienable part of China and insists it is willing to use force.
China’s operations have typically been concentrated in the Taiwan-controlled Platas Islands.
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