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Taiwan Pilots Rescued at Sea

September 28, 2003|From Associated Press

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Two Taiwanese air force pilots were rescued by fishermen from Taiwan's archrival China after their fighter jet crashed into the sea Saturday, the military said.

The plane -- a locally made Indigenous Defense Fighter -- was based in the southern town of Tainan and was on a routine training mission, the air force said.

The pilots, Wang Pei-chiang and Tsai Kun-nan, said they parachuted out just before their jet crashed into Taiwanese waters. The Chinese fishermen picked them up and handed them over to Taiwan's coast guard.

The cause of the crash was being investigated.

"We're very happy about the captains of the Chinese ships providing unconditional humanitarian assistance. We want to express our thanks," said Huang Ching-hung, an air force spokesman.

China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has not ruled out using force to retake the island.

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