Body of fighter pilot found 27 days after crash

The remains of a pilot who was missing for 27 days after the collision and crash of two air force F-5E fighter jets were found just 100 meters from Nanren Fishing Port in Pingtung County this morning, April 18.

Captain Pan Ying-chun (潘穎諄) was one of two pilots who ejected after the two planes collided during a change in formation off the coast of Pingtung County, March 22.

See previous story: One fighter pilot dead, one missing after mid-air collision over ocean

One pilot, Lieutenant Lo Shang-hua (羅尚樺), was found without vital signs after the crash, and was later declared dead at the hospital.

Pan’s ejection seat was found on the coastal Provincial Highway 26, at the 73 kilometer mark shortly after the crash, and this became the center-point of a search zone that extended out to sea, 3 kilometers inland, and along 9 kilometers of coast.

Pan’s ejection seat was found on the side of a road shortly after the crash.

After Pan’s flight helmet, life jacket, and left left boot, were found in the course of the search, and the wreck of the fighter was located off the coast of Jiupeng Village, Manzhou Township, the coastal reef area became the focus of the search.

Poor weather and sea conditions had lately made the search more difficult. With improved conditions today, the Marine Corps Special Search Squadron were preparing to go to sea in an inflatable when they spotted Pan’s bright orange flight suit on rocks in the intertidal zone. The flight suit’s rank and serial number confirmed that the remains were those of Captain Pan Ying-chun.

Pan’s body was transported to Taitung Air Force Base by helicopter, then by special vehicle to a funeral home in his hometown of Taitung City.

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