An F-16 went missing in a mountainous region of northern Taiwan this afternoon, and wreckage has reportedly been found by a hiker on a trail in the vicinity of Ruifang District.
The single-seat F-16A (No. 6685) was one of two belonging to the 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron that took off from Hualien Airport at 1:09pm to participate in the annual Hanguang military exercise which began today. The fighter jets were heading to airspace above Keelung City when one of the planes disappeared from radar screens at 1:43pm.
The Ministry of Defense joint operations command center immediately launched an air and ground search and rescue mission.
The plane was piloted by Major Wu Yan-ting (吳彥霆), who has 736 hours experience flying the F-16.
Major Wu had successfully ejected from an F-16 when the jet suffered an engine malfunction while flying over the sea near Chiayi County May 15, 2013.
New Taipei City Fire Department received a report at 3:45pm that a hiker on a trail in Ruifang District had stumbled across wreckage suspected to have come from the missing plane. The items include a drag chute and chute container, and part of the tail.
The F-16 has seen 21 years of service in Taiwan. Of the 150 F-16s purchased to date, 8 have crashed.
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