F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Taiwanese F-16B crashes near Taitung AB

January 24, 1999 (by Lieven Dewitte) - RoCAF F-16B #6813 crashed in a tea plantation near Taitung AB. Sadly, the crew did not survive. An earlier announcement by the air force had claimed that the fighter disappeared over the sea, and said a search and rescue operation had been launched.

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ROCAF F-16B block 20 #6813

However, it was Tai Tung fire fighters called in to douse a fire in a tea plantation who found the wreckage of the aircraft later that evening and officials confirmed it as belonging to the missing plane.

The jet fighter, one of 30 twin-seater F-16 B's delivered by the United States since 1997, smashed into a tea plantation in Tai Tung County, destroying a nearby tea factory which was burned down by fuel spilling from the crashed plane.

The jet, which was on an assignment to a Hualien air base from its home base in Chiayi, central Taiwan, took off around 16.15h from Hua Lien AB. At 16.40h, it began TACAN training, 23 clicks from Tai Tung AB, and searching for magnetic track R-210. Seven minutes later, or reportedly 16.54h, it disppeared from radar screens, in direction of magnetic track R-232 from beacon. At 17.03h, Chih Hang AB scrambled an S-70C SAR helicopter which reported fire and explosions in Tai Ma Li Mountain area around 17.40h.

The previous day, the pilot had flown the same course and training. Just before accident, while descending with TACAN, the aircraft should turn right 30 degrees for landing, but didn't, at a spot about 3-5 NM from coast. ATC advised the pilots, but after 48 seconds, the aircraft crashed into Jin Zhen Mountain. Local weather was clouds and light rain from 1,500' AGL, or 4,000' ASL.

This the second accident involving an F-16B since the Republic of China Air Force began taking delivery of an order for 150 of the planes in 1997.

The last incident occurred on March 20, 1998, when another of the planes disappeared over the sea near Penghu County, a group of small islands off the west coast of Taiwan. The wreckage of the aircraft has not been found, and its two pilots are presumed dead. Although positive identification of the remains had yet to be made, they were presumed to be those of Lt. Col. Chang Chia-kun and Maj. Tai Wi-kang.