Search continues for airman missing off coast of Pingtung

F-5E戰機發生擦撞意外,造成一人殉職、一人失蹤,總統蔡英文今天早上出席三總松山分院新建航空醫學大樓動土典禮時,致詞表達遺憾,對殉職飛官的家屬表達哀悼,也指示國防部務必全力搜救,釐清事故原因。另外,飛官出身的退輔會主委馮世寬也說他感到難過,飛行失事不可避免,飛行員不知能不能回來,但還是要去。

The search continues for one of two Air Force pilots who crashed off the coast of Pingtung on Monday. The missing pilot, Captain Pan Ying-chun, was flying an F-5E that apparently collided with another F-5E during a training exercise. The pilot of the second jet, First Lieutenant Lo Shang-hua, was found unconscious in the ocean and later pronounced dead. Speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony in Taipei, President Tsai Ing-wen expressed condolences to the family of the pilot who died in the line of duty. She said she’d asked the defense ministry to do all it could to recover the airman still missing.

三總松山分院新建航空醫學大樓,總統蔡英文親自出席開工動土典禮,新建大樓地下一層、地上十層,目標之一就是提升航空醫務效能、守護飛行安全,但沒想到,前一天驚傳兩架F-5E戰鬥機發生擦撞意外,總統心情沉重。

Tri-Service General Hospital’s Songshan branch broke ground on a new building on Tuesday. President Tsai did the honors for the 11-story project, which will be dedicated to aviation medicine and flight safety. But in the wake of a tragic fighter jet collision the day before, President Tsai was in a somber mood.

總統蔡英文:不過很遺憾,昨天在屏東牡丹外海,有兩架F-5E戰鬥機發生事故,邱國正部長上午也代表我,前往台東慰問家屬,也在現場指揮搜救的工作,我已經指示我們的國防部,務必要全力地搜救,並且釐清事故原因,我也要向殉職的飛官家屬,表達最沉痛的哀悼,事故讓人悲慟,但是國軍官兵依然都堅守崗位。

Tsai Ing-wen, president: Very regrettably, two F-5E fighter jets collided yesterday off the coast of Pingtung's Mudan Township. On my behalf, Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng went to Taitung this morning to pay his respects to the bereaved. He also oversaw the ongoing search for the missing airman. I have instructed the Ministry of National Defense to do everything in its power to find the pilot and to clarify the cause of the incident. I also want to express my deepest condolences to the family of the airman who died in the line of duty. This incident is a tragedy, but our service members will continue to hold fast to their posts.

而身為空軍老學長,前一天才穿著飛行衣到立院備詢的退輔會主委馮世寬,話裡更是充滿不捨。

A retired Air Force officer, Veteran Affairs Council chief Feng Shih-kuan expressed dismay when speaking to reporters about the crash.

退輔會主委馮世寬:我們不知道能不能回來,但是我們還是要去,我非常地難過,但是我想告訴大家,飛行失事是不可避免的,但是我們卻要努力去防止,我覺得空軍已經做好了最好的準備,但天候的因素,人為的因素,會有這些事情的發生,請所有全國的老百姓,大家都應該想到他們的辛勞,今天的國防都要靠空軍,我們一起來努力。

Feng Shih-kuan, Veterans Affairs Council head: We don’t know if we will recover him. But we still have to try. My heart is very heavy. But I want everyone to know that flight accidents are unavoidable. We have to try our best to prevent them. I think the Air Force has made the best possible preparations, but there are weather factors and human factors, so these things can happen. I ask all the people of this country to remember the service and sacrifice of our airmen. Our national defense depends on the Air Force. We need to work together.

至於意外的肇事原因,國防部初步判斷,疑似是發生空中擦撞。

Speaking on the cause of the crash, a defense official said preliminary findings point to a mid-air collision.

空軍司令部參謀長黃志偉:他們兩個受令交換,進行隊形調整的時候,沒有聽到任何無線電呼叫,只是1號機和3號機都同時看到,這兩架飛機疑似,他們並沒有看到飛機擦撞的一刻,可是因為看到空中有碎片,並且有一具彈射座椅,看到它從飛機裡頭彈射出來,所以判斷現在是疑似發生空中擦撞。

Huang Chih-wei, Air Force chief of staff lieutenant general: They were ordered to exchange positions during a change in formation. No radio calls were heard. Units 1 and 3 are suspected of having collided. The collision was not seen when it occurred, but there was a visual on the debris in the air. In addition, an ejection seat was seen coming out of a plane. Therefore, it’s been judged that there was a mid-air collision.

國防部下令F5戰機全面停飛特檢,但F-5E戰機墜機,已經是空軍史上第四起,共造成七名飛官罹難。去年殉職飛官朱冠甍的母親,才痛罵F-5E是破銅爛鐵了,還要兒子去飛,這些話還言猶在耳,沒想到不到半年,同款飛機又出事。

The Ministry of National Defense has grounded all F5 fighter jets for inspections. The latest accident is the fourth on record involving an F-5E, which has claimed the lives of seven pilots. After the death of Captain Chu Kuan-meng last year, the pilot’s mother said the F-5E was known to be unsafe, and she had slammed the Air Force for having her son fly the jet. Her criticism, which was widely picked up national media, has resurfaced in the wake of yet another accident involving the plane.

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