God… they’re so young… 19 – 23… my first batch of students are 19 now… life is so fragile and so easily gone. One had just celebrated his 23rd birthday one day before, another is going into NUS Arts. Yet another is starting work soon. And now, 2 dead. 1 in SGH with 45% burns, another also in SGH with 50% burns. Another 7 with less severe injuries… Heartbreaking news… my sympathy goes out to them and their families…
Fri May 11, 2007 6:11AM EDT
TAIPEI (Reuters) – An ageing Taiwan fighter jet crashed on Friday during preparation for an exercise aimed at countering an attack by China, killing two Taiwanese pilots and two visiting Singaporean soldiers on the ground, officials said.
Nine Singaporean servicemen were injured, two seriously, when the two-seater F-5F jet crashed into a storeroom in a military base, Singapore’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
“Two SAF (Singapore Armed Forces) servicemen are injured and are being treated in hospital. Seven others have minor injuries. Two bodies have been found and their identities are being verified,” the ministry said.
The base was located in Hukou, Hsinchu County, which is about 50 km (30 miles) south of the capital Taipei.
Due to a lack of adequate space on the small island state for large-scale exercises, Singaporean troops have been coming to train in Taiwan as part of a cooperative agreement — code-named Operation Starlight — since 1975.
No reason for the crash had yet been determined, although local media highlighted the age of the F-5F fleet, which has been in service since the 1970s, as a possible factor.
Defense Minister Lee Jye told reporters that the jet, which crashed while attempting to pull out of a low-level attack run, could still be used, but the military was planning to replace them.
“Despite being old, the F-5Fs can still be used if they adequately meet standards. In the future we are planning to replace them with F-16C/D fighters,” said Lee.
Taiwan has requested around 60 F-16C/D fighters from the United States, but long delays by parliament in passing a budget for a prior arms package has strained ties and Washington has declined to approve the sale.
The Ministry of Defense has grounded all F-5F fighters, pending the outcome of an investigation into the accident.
The crash comes as Taiwan’s military prepares to hold the island’s annual Han Kuang live fire drills aimed at repelling an attack from China next week.
Taiwan’s Lee said the exercise would be unaffected by the accident.
China claims Taiwan as part of its own territory and has threatened war if the island was ever to declare formal independence.
The Singaporean soldiers were not taking part in the exercises, the Taiwan Defense ministry said.
Two S’porean SAF soldiers dead and 9 others injured in Taiwan fighter jet crash
Two of the injured are treated in hospital; the others have minor injuries, says Mindef.
Two Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) men died when a Taiwan Air Force F5F aircraft crashed into a storeroom at a Taiwanese military facility at 9.25 am today.
A statement from the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said today that the two were among some SAF personnel, including Full-Time National Servicemen (NSF), who were in the storeroom at that time.
“The servicemen were there in support of the SAF’s unilateral training in Taiwan,” said Mindef.
“Two SAF servicemen are injured and are being treated in hospital. Seven others have minor injuries. Two bodies have been found and their identities are being verified. The next of kin of the affected servicemen have been informed. The rest of the SAF personnel in Taiwan are safe and accounted for.
“Minister for Defence Mr Teo Chee Hean expressed his deep concern for the affected servicemen and their families, and said that Mindef and the SAF will do all they can to look after their well-being. He has also been in touch with the Taiwanese authorities who assured us that they will do their best to provide the necessary assistance to our personnel.
“Mindef and the SAF will be conducting an investigation.”
2 S’poreans killed in fighter jet crash in Taiwan
The two injured Singaporeans, said to be in critical condition, have been sent to the Taipei’s Tri-Service General Hospital. — TVBS
TAIPEI – A MILITARY exercise in northern Taiwan turned tragic when two Singaporean soldiers were killed and nine others were left injured.
The accident, which happened on Friday morning also left two Taiwanese fighter pilots dead.
According to Taiwan’s defence ministry, an F-5F jet crashed into a military compound in Hsinchun county during its annual ‘Han Kuang’ military exercise.
The two SAF servicemen who died in the crash are 19-year-old Corporal Isz Sazli Sapari and 22-year-old Private Fan Yao Jin.
The two-seat warplane crashed at 9.38am, 30 minutes after take-off from an air base in Taitong, south-east of the island during a simulation of a ground attack, according to the defence ministry.
The cause of the crash at the Hu-kou military base was not immediately known, the island?s defence ministry said in a statement.
But Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence spokesman, Rear-Admiral Wu Chi Fang said the pair killed were not taking part in Friday?s drill, adding that the cause of the crash was under investigation.
In a statement, Singapore’s defence ministry, Mindef, said that the Taiwan Air Force F-5F aircraft crashed into a storeroom which was gutted by a fire.
The servicemen, including Full-Time National Servicemen (NSF), were present at the storeroom at that time.
The bodies of the Corporal Isz Sazli and Private Fan were flown to a mortuary in Taoyuan, north of Taiwan, while the two injured Singaporeans, said to be in critical condition,have been sent to the Taipei’s Tri-Service General Hospital.
Reports say the two suffered 60 to 70 per cent burns on their bodies.
A team of five SAF doctors are now in Taiwan to help stabalise the conditions the two servicemen.
Meanwhile, the SAF and Mindef extended their condolences to the families of the pair who died and will fly them to Taiwan.
Singapore’s Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean has expressed his deep concern for affected servicemen and their families. He said that Mindef and the SAF will ‘do all they can to look after their well-being’.
Mr Teo, who is in touch with Taiwanese authorities, said Mindef and the SAF will be investigating the incident.
The two pilots who died in the crash were an instructor and intelligence officer.
All remaining F-5F fighters participating in the drill ? 60 or so ? were immediately grounded for safety inspections, together with all F-5Es in the fleet. The Air Force has also grounded F-Es for safety inspections.
Mr Lee however said the live-fire ?Han Kuang (Han Glory) 23? manoeuvres would go on as scheduled next week.
Taiwan prepares to showcase its military strength, beginning next Monday, in five days of exercises designed to test its defence capabilities. — Additional sources from AFP, AP