The air force said an F-16 jet crashed into the sea yesterday afternoon, but the pilot managed to eject and parachute into the sea.
It said the accident took place at 2:30pm as the pilot was conducting a training run over waters off Chiayi County.
Pilot Wu Yen-ting (吳彥霆), 26, was rescued by an S-70C helicopter at 3:27pm.
Wu, who was sent to a Greater Taichung hospital for treatment, was only slightly injured.
The air force said an initial investigation showed mechanical failure caused the crash.
It said Wu’s aircraft took off from Chiayi Air Force Base at 2pm along with another F-16 for a routine training flight.
On realizing that his plane was in trouble, Wu informed his colleague in the other plane of the situation before ejecting.
Wu’s lifeboat inflated automatically on impact with the sea and he climbed aboard it to await rescue, the air force added.
It added that an investigation task force has headed to Chiayi to look into the matter.
Yesterday’s incident was the sixth F-16 crash since their acquisition. The air force has 144 left in service.
The US has agreed to retrofit the F-16A/Bs in service in Taiwan. The air force said the retrofitting is scheduled to begin in 2016 and last until 2028, with the first upgraded aircraft to be delivered in 2021.