Taipei, All three people who were on a trainer aircraft that went missing Monday afternoon were rescued about an hour after the accident, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said.
Two flight trainees and an instructor on the Diamond Aircraft DA40NG plane, which belongs to the Taitung-based Apex Flight Academy, were rescued at 6:22 p.m., said Clark Lin (???), director of the CAA's Flight Standards Division.
The aircraft, which took off from Taitung Airport at 4:20 p.m. en route to Kaohsiung for a cross-country training, lost contact with flight controllers at 5:07 p.m. while flying over the sea about 11 nautical miles southwest of Kaohsiung International Airport, Lin said.
A CAA mission control center quickly informed nearby airports, the National Airborne Service Corps, the Coast Guard Administration and other groups to put together a rescue team, he said.
Helicopters and vessels went to the general area where the aircraft went missing and successfully located all three people at 6:10 p.m. in waters about 8 nautical miles off the Kaohsiung coast, according to Lin. The three were wearing life jackets.
The plane has yet to be found, he said, and a CAA official and an Aviation Safety Council (ASC) official are heading to the scene to investigate.
It remains unclear what caused the plane to go down, Lin said.
The aircraft was around 5 years old and had served 1,694 hours on 1,874 flights as of June 30.
The Apex Flight Academy is the first flight school in Taiwan certified by the CAA. It offers private lessons and helps train pilots from local airlines such as Tigerair Taiwan and Mandarin Airlines.