Michael Klein has released the first picture of the last moments of the fighter that crashed last week in Hukou. The military has released the preliminary results of the investigation:

According to the preliminary investigation report released by Air Force Chief of Staff Major General Liu Chen-wu earlier in the day at the Legislative Yuan, the pilots of the F-5F are believed to have failed to pull up safely immediately after firing their guns and releasing bombs during a rehearsal for the Han Kuang 23 military exercises. The result was that the fighter stalled and crashed.

During the several crucial seconds after the stall, he said, the pilots chose not to eject in order to steer the fighter away from an industrial zone in Hsinchu County, sacrificing themselves in an attempt to save lives. The fighter ended up crashing into a nearby military base in Hukou.

As always, our Golden Retriever media here in Taiwan produced an eloquent array of fictions, some which are compiled in the thread at TaiwanMilitary.org. Despite the fancy images in the media, nothing fell off the plane. I have seen all of the shots Michael took, and they support the military’s announcement that the plane stalled, failed to recover, and crashed. Until Michael releases all the shots, I will say no more. But the whole thing is simply one more lesson, if any were needed, in understanding that in the absence of information the local media will simply Make. Stuff. Up.

Speaking of things military, Caroline Gluck of the BBC turned in the story of people gathering in central Taiwan to watch the fighters practicing landing on the Sun Yat-sen Freeway as part of the recent military exercises here in Taiwan:

Some had brought their young children with them, a few had binoculars, many more had cameras and they were all eagerly looking towards a stretch of one of Taiwan’s main freeways, connecting the north to the south of the island.

Soon, the large crowd numbering more than 1,000 would hear the ferocious roar of jets and witness six combat fighters land, refuel and re-arm, before taking off again from a 2.5km stretch of the freeway in Changhua, western Taiwan.

It is only the second time that such an exercise has been held since the Sun Yat-Sen freeway was completed in 1979 and the first involving three types of Air Force fighters.

“I got up at 3am to come here, I wanted to get a good spot,” said 42-year-old Pan Xiao-Yi. She told me she had driven from the nearby city of Taichung, 40 minutes away.

“I want to see the fighter jets. They are huge - very powerful. I’ve seen some planes like this in films but never in real life.”

Trivia: the freeway was actually completed in October of 1978, not in 1979. The Air Force landed Mirage aircraft on the freeway in 2004, the first time since it was built, but F-100s, F-104s, and other aircraft practiced landing on it back in the 1970s before it was opened for business.

My friend Michael had one compelling observation about the deaths of those pilots. “I can’t tell you the cause of the accident,” he said, “but I can tell you who is responsible: China.”