Taiwan's Mirage fighters grounded after crash

All of Taiwan's French-made Mirage 2000 fighter jets were grounded for safety checks Monday after one of the aircraft crashed into the sea off the island's northwestern coast earlier in the day, the island's military said.

The Defense Ministry, in a statement, said the accident took place at 10:18 a.m., 24 minutes after the jet took off from an air base in the city of Hsinchu.

The two pilots managed to eject safely. They were retrieved by an Air Force rescue team at 11:32 a.m. and taken to hospital for evaluation.

The accident is under investigation.

Taiwan has 60 Mirage 2000 fighters, which along with U.S.-made F-16 jet fighters and locally developed defense fighters form the backbone of the island's second generation warplane fleet.