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F-16 Jet Crashes in Taiwan

August 18, 1999

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) _ An F-16 fighter jet crashed near the runway of a southern air base today, but its pilot parachuted and survived, state radio reported.

The single-seater jet was returning to Shuisang Air Base in southern Taiwan from a routine training mission when the pilot noted the landing gear had failed to open, the radio said.

Pilot Lin Keng-sheng was hospitalized with bone fractures, the radio said.

Taiwan purchased 150 F-16s from the United States in 1992 and has taken delivery of more than 100 of them.

The jet crash today was Taiwan’s third loss of an F-16 in 17 months.

In January, a two-seater F-16 slammed into a mountain residence in the south, killing both pilots. Another two-seater F-16 disappeared into the Taiwan Strait near the Penghu island group in March 1998.

Newspapers have reported the air force has tallied more than 300 defects with Taiwan’s F-16s, including computer and braking problems considered serious enough to call in the manufacturer to make repairs. The jets were made by Lockheed Martin Corp. for $20 million each.

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