Tue, Nov 14, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Signal might be from missing Mirage 2000: air force

Staff writer, with CNA

The air force yesterday said that it has detected a signal similar to what would be sent from the black box of the Mirage 2000 fighter jet that went missing off the northeastern coast of Taiwan on Tuesday last week.

The signal was detected in the vicinity of where the jet disappeared from radar screens, but the military is still not sure it had been indeed sent by the missing plane.

The signal’s wavelength is similar to that sent by the black box of a Mirage 2000, air force Lieutenant General Chang Yen-ting (張延廷) said.

However, such signals are regularly affected by interference from ocean currents and the seabed, and the rescue team has to locate where the signal was sent from before reclaiming the device to determine if it is from the missing jet’s black box, Chang said.

The aircraft, piloted by Captain Ho Tzu-yu (何子雨), took off at 6:09pm on a regular nighttime training exercise before losing contact with the control tower at 6:43pm about 90 nautical miles (166.7km) north-northeast of Keelung.

Despite an intensive search since the night of the jet’s disappearance, rescue teams have failed to locate the plane or its pilot.

As of yesterday, there were 93 military aircraft searching for the pilot and the aircraft, which were from the Hsinchu-based 499th Tactical Fighter Wing.

The air force’s statement came after Lee Wen-yu (李文玉), a former air force test pilot who is now a civilian airline pilot, yesterday said on Facebook that he detected similar emergency locator transmitter signals twice, on Friday and on Sunday, while flying over waters where Ho’s plane was last seen on radar.

Lee said that the signals could have been sent by Ho’s Mirage-2000.

He said other civilian plane pilots also picked up 121.5MHz SOS signals off Keelung after the plane went missing and they thought the military rescue team must have picked up the same signals.

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