The body of a fighter pilot who had gone missing following a mid-air collision last month was yesterday found near a fishing port in Pingtung County, the air force said.
A search-and-rescue team found Captain Pan Ying-chun’s (潘穎諄) body in a reef crevice near Nanren Fishing Port (南仁漁港) in Manjhou Township (滿州), the air force said.
Pan was one of two pilots involved in the accident in which two single-seat F-5E jets collided as they were changing formation during a training mission.
Photo: Tsai Tsung-hsien, Taipei Times
The other pilot, Lo Shang-hua (羅尚樺), ejected from his aircraft after the collision, but he did not have any vital signs when found at sea and was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital later that day.
Lo was posthumously promoted from the rank of first lieutenant to major.
Pan’s body has been transported to his home in Taitung County, the air force said.
He is thought to have also ejected from his aircraft.
The Taitung District Prosecutors’ Office said that it is continuing its investigation into the cause of the accident.
Pan’s body was identified through its air force uniform, name tag and other items, the office said, adding that DNA testing would confirm the identity.
The office cited the coroner as saying that after completing an initial examination that there was no way to determine the cause of death, as too much time had passed.
A full autopsy would be conducted as soon as possible to clarify the cause of death, it added.
“Since many of the things found on the body belonged to Pan Ying-chun, it is probably him,” Pan’s brother told reporters at the morgue yesterday.
Finding the body was enough, he said, adding that he just wants to give his brother a proper funeral and send him off.
The air force expressed its regret and grief at the loss of the two pilots.
It added that it would cooperate with prosecutors and help Pan’s family with funeral preparations.
The first report on the crash is expected to be released before May 6.
Additional reporting by Aaron Tu
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