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Air Force Command stated today (18th) that Command had immediately set up a search and contingency center in response to the first-level flight safety incident involving a F-16 aircraft on November 17th, which is jointly operated by the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Central Government, National Sun Yat-sen University and other professional organizations. After a month of searching, the search area has been effectively narrowed down based on the signals received from the retrieved flight recorder.

Air Force Command further states that so far it has dispatched 56 aircraft and 201 vessels (including those from the Navy, Coast Guard Administration, OAC; 17 vessels in coordination with the Legend of the Ministry of Science and Technology, and 15 vessel with Polaris Australia from Dragon Prince Hydro-Survey Enterprise Co.), and 73 vehicles with 316 people to carry out search and rescue operations. However, the search and rescue taskforce faced unfavorable conditions due to the rugged seabed terrain, harsh waters, and other environmental factors.

At present, the waters around Hualien are affected by a northeast monsoon, and the maritime conditions are very severe. After a comprehensive assessment and explanation to the family for approval, search and rescue operations are currently suspended, but will be resumed at a later stage, even before maritime conditions return to a more stable state in April/May next year (2021)