A Taiwanese pilot died yesterday morning after his Mirage 2000-5F crashed in France.
The pilot, identified as Wang Tung-yi (王同義) was on a training exchange program at the BA 116 airforce base in Luxeuil-les-Bains, Haute-Saone, and his aircraft crashed north of Luxeuil, near the Froideconche community soon after takeoff at 10:05am, French military officials told media.
Froideconche Mayor Henri Passard said the aircraft crashed in a wooded area about 500m from a housing community and dozens of kilometers from the air base.
“For the time being, nobody has been able to approach the site of the crash, for security reasons,” he said. “We must first determine what type of weapons were on board the aircraft.”
French newspaper Le Figaro reported that witnesses had seen a “ball of fire” prior to the crash.
Passard said that based on information he had received, the pilot did everything in his power to avoid crashing into houses.
Haute-Saone police said all its forces, as well as officers from the air base in Luxeuil, had been placed at the disposal of investigators from the air police station in Villacoublay.
General Denis Mercier, Chief of Staff of the French Air Force, expressed his sympathy to the family of the pilot. The French military said it had launched an investigation to determine the cause of the crash.
The Ministry of National Defense confirmed the news last night.
Taiwan purchased 60 Mirage 2000-5 aircraft from France in 1992.
As part of the program, one Taiwanese pilot was to be inducted into the EC-1/2 “Cigognes” unit, which also operates this type of aircraft, the French-language magazine Air & Cosmos wrote.
Taiwan reciprocated by having one French pilot join a unit in Taiwan.