Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) paid tribute to a air force jet fighter pilot who died in a recent crash in France as the pilot’s remains were brought home yesterday.
Kao and Air Force Commanding General Yen Ming (嚴明) met the family of Lieutenant Colonel Wang Tung-yi (王同義) at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport upon their return from France with the ashes of the pilot, who died during a training mission on Oct. 3.
The family members included Wang’s mother and his brother, who carried the urn with the pilot’s ashes.
Wang’s remains will be kept at an air base in Hsinchu, where a memorial service is scheduled for Monday. Wang will be honored with a presidential citation and a medal for his excellent performance and dedication to his mission.
A funeral service was held earlier this week for Wang at an air base in eastern France where he was in training. During the service, he was posthumously awarded a flying medal by the French Air Force.
Wang, 37, died during a training operation. His Mirage 2000-5 jet fighter lost contact shortly after takeoff from Luxeuil Air Base and crashed into a wooded area about 500m from a cluster of houses, French reports said.
The French Air Force said that in the final moments of the flight, Wang made a conscious effort to steer the plane clear of residential communities in the Luxeuil-les-Bains area to prevent loss of life.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
The air force said on Thursday that its Mirage 2000-5s are now back in service, after a suspension following the French crash.