A Taiwanese pilot was killed Thursday after his fighter jet crashed off the island’ s eastern coast during routine training, the air force said , in the second fatal air crash in three months.
Pilot Chu Kuang – meng ejected from the F – 5 E jet after reporting an engine malfunction shortly after take – off , the air force said .
The 29 – year – old was rescued from the sea unconscious but could not be revived .
The crash comes as Taiwan ’ s aged and under- equipped air force is forced to meet an unprecedented level of incursions into its defence zone by Chinese fighters .
The island says it has scrambled its fighters at double the rate of last year in an effort to warn off Chinese jets .
Beijing views self – ruled democratic Taiwan as its own territory and has vowed to one day seize it back , by force if necessary .
Analysts say China’ s increased buzzing of Taiwan is a way to test the island’ s defence responses, but also wear out its fighters .