Taipei, April 10 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen on Saturday honored a fighter pilot who died after his F-5E jet, a single-seated variant of the F-5 Tiger, crashed into the sea off Pingtung County following a mid-air collision on March 22.
At a memorial service held at the F-5E jet's home air base in Taitung, a citation was presented by the president to the wife of Lo Shang-hua.
The 26-year-old pilot was also posthumously promoted from the rank of first lieutenant to major and awarded a posthumous Order of Loyalty and Valor that was accepted by his father on his behalf from Air Force chief Hsiung Hou-chi.
In her address, Tsai thanked Lo for the dedication and sacrifices he made to protect Taiwan.
"As a guardian of Taiwan's national airspace, we are all proud of him," she said, and she instructed the Ministry of National Defense to provide the best possible care to his family.
During the memorial procession, members of the Military Police performed a three-volley salute and four F-5 fighter jets also flew the missing man formation over the Taitung air base to show respect for their fallen comrade.
He will be interred at the Hualien Martyrs' Shrine in eastern Taiwan.
Lo's F-5E crashed into the sea after his plane brushed against his wingman in mid-air as they were switching formation during a training mission over Pingtung County.
He ejected from his aircraft after the collision, but did not have any vital signs when found at sea and was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital.
The other pilot, Captain Pan Ying-chun, is thought to have also ejected from his aircraft, but he has not been found.
On Saturday, the Air Force said it has not given up the search to find Pan.