Taiwan Loses Two Fighter Jets in Apparent Collision

TAIPEI (Reuters) -

Two Taiwanese fighter jets crashed on Monday in the third such incident in the past half year, at a time when the Beijing-claimed island’s armed forces are under increasing pressure to intercept Chinese aircraft on an almost daily basis.

While Taiwan’s air force is well trained and well equipped, mostly with U.S.-made equipment, it is dwarfed by China’s. Beijing views the democratic island as its own territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under Chinese control.

Taiwan’s National Rescue Command Centre said two air force F-5E fighters, each with one pilot aboard, crashed into the sea off the island’s southeastern coast after they apparently collided in mid-air during a training mission.

An air force helicopter, coast guard and other rescue ships have been scrambled to look for the pilots, it added.