Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Two Taiwan military jets 'crash' - 13th Sept 2011

Two Taiwanese fighter jets are missing and may have crashed while on a training flight, reports from the island say.

The defence ministry said that the two aircraft disappeared off radar shortly after taking off from an air base in Hualien, eastern Taiwan.

Witnesses told local media they had seen two aircraft crash into mountains and burst into flames.

Troops were searching the area, the defence ministry said.

The aircraft - one RF-5 surveillance plane and a two-seater F-5F trainer - took off at 19:39 (11:39 GMT) and disappeared 13 minutes later, a defence ministry spokesman said.

"We were fishing at the seaside when suddenly airplanes flew over our heads, and a moment later we heard a loud bang and the whole mountain was set on fire," one witness told the Taipei Times. "The explosion was very loud."

Local media said what appeared to be wreckage had been found on a highway.

Taiwan is currently seeking to upgrade its ageing air fleet.

It wants the US to sell it 66 F-16 C/D fighter jets, but China has warned Washington not to proceed with the deal.

The US is due to make a decision by October. Source