Fri, Oct 18, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Missing fighter jet data recorder recovered

Staff writer, with CNA

A Mirage 2000 fighter jet, No. 2040, which Captain Ho Tzu-yu was flying when he went missing on Nov. 7, 2017, is pictured in an undated photograph.

Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense

The flight data recorder of a Mirage 2000 fighter jet that went missing nearly two years ago was recovered earlier this month and an analysis of its data might help explain the cause of the incident, air force officials said yesterday.

The black box was recovered from the bottom of the ocean off the northern coast of Taiwan on Oct. 3 by a research vessel operated by National Applied Research Laboratories’ Taiwan Ocean Research Institute (TORI), an official said on condition of anonymity.

TORI, commissioned by the air force through a commercial bid, used its 2,629-tonne research vessel Legend (勵進) in the search, TORI Director Wang Chau-chang (王兆璋) said, adding that a team of air force personnel were also aboard the ship to aid its crew.

Essential to the search was a remotely operated vehicle and a multibeam echosounder that produces high-resolution images of the seabed, he said.

The air force spent nearly NT$10 million (US$325,935) commissioning TORI for the search, which started in the middle of last month and ends in the middle of December, another official said on condition of anonymity.

The black box was sent to the French manufacturer of the jet to retrieve its data in an attempt to clarify the cause of the crash, which usually takes about 60 days, the officials said.

The Legend also recovered parts of the jet, though there was no sign of the remains of the pilot Captain Ho Tzu-yu (何子雨), the officials said.

The aircraft, piloted by Ho, took off at about 6:09pm on Nov. 7, 2017, 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.

After failing to locate Ho’s remains in June last year, the military declared him killed in action.

Ho was posthumously promoted to the rank of major by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on June 5 last year.

Additional reporting by Lo Tien-ping and Lin Chia-nan

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