The Taiwanese Air Force announced that it would ground its fleet of Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets on March 14. The announcement came after a unit of the said aircraft crashed off the southeastern coast of the island during a routine training session. This is the second time a combat aircraft was lost in a span of three months, showing its accident-prone fleet. Though fortunately, the pilot operating the aircraft was rescued this time around.

According to Taiwan’s Air Force Command Headquarters, the French-built aircraft took off from Chihhang Air Base just after 10 AM. However, at 11:30 AM, the command center received an alert that the pilot ejected from the aircraft roughly 10 nautical miles south of the base.

Taiwan Air Force Chief Inspector Major General Liu Hui-chien reported that the aircraft’s sole pilot, Lt. Col. Huang Chung-kai, ejected from the aircraft after he noticed a lack of power. The Mirage 2000-5’s engine was reportedly not generating enough power to fly the aircraft safely, thus prompting the pilot to eject.

A Taiwanese Mirage 2000 fighter jet, serial number 2017, the aircraft that had crashed (CNA). Source: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202203140024
A Taiwanese Mirage 2000 fighter jet, serial number 2017, the aircraft that had crashed (CNA)

A UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter was dispatched to the scene and successfully rescued the pilot. According to the Taiwanese Air Force, he was reportedly in good condition and is currently in the hospital for further observation as a precaution for possible infections brought by inhaling seawater.