5371 – Mixed Feelings


This is the second shot in the series.  It demonstrates how important these photos are because it’s possible to triangulate the altitude of 5371 if the position of the camera is known (and it is, of course) by using the position and size of the Stationary Point of Reference (SPoR).  In this case, it’s the water tank and the pipes.

Local time is now 03:34 and I can’t sleep.  I can’t stop thinking about the men who died.  What bothers me is that the military released their report and they ruled pilot error, and they used my photographs in that determination.  This has taken a toll on me.  The respect and admiration that I have for those 2 men seems insignificant in the face of blame.

May 11th changed my life.  I witnessed something profound – something that initially thrilled me but later greatly saddened me.  The only  consolation that I can find is that hopefully, information derived from my photos and eyewitness account will help future pilots from meeting the same end.  Please forgive me for what I saw.

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11 comments

  1. I appreciate what you are doing, honouring the brave pilots. Thanks alot.

    At the same time, I’d hope you’ll also remember the two singaporean soldiers killed on the ground in the crash. Being a conscripted singaporean soldier myself, I feel it is tragic that their bright futures were cut short so aburptly. Having to give 2 years of our life at our prime to serve the nation is something all singaporean males must do, but giving your life in the process is truely tragic.

    It is not that I am blaming the pilots, just that I’d hope you do not forget these servicemen too.

  2. ZP

    i’ve been in contact with several Singaporeans in the military about this case, and i understand that the 2 men are undergoing treatment. yes, its tragic, but you must understand that this story isn’t about the men on the ground of either nation (2 Taiwanese were also killed on the ground) – its the story of the heroes in the air.

    certainly, we all convey the same sympathy for the injured and killed in this tragic accident.

  3. Thanks for telling the other side of the story, I thought the military’s report was a conclusion of a series rigorous investigation, I think you are doing a good job for providing those pictures which though was never your intention to be used for the military to judge the incident was a human error. Take it easy, man. Best Regards, Hsu

  4. another thought, I think this is all the military’s fault for picking the wrong place for such exercise. Poor planning! Why would they pick such a place that where the residential area is just nearby? The pilots had 10 seconds to eject from the plane before crashing to save their own lives, but they gave up because they wanted to guide the plane to an ’empty’ spot…

  5. Dear MJ;
    Thanks for your photo for our brave airforce pilot.
    In my mind, I won’t blame them for their operation erro if the investgation report is correct. They did what they can do in the last seconds and avoid to kill more people. They made me proud to be a Taiwanese. Again, thanks for your photos and story~

  6. Hsu, yes you are right. you will never know how bad i feel that the pilots were blamed and that my photos helped the Air Force to come to that conclusion.

  7. sir, the pilot is my friend’s brother,i hope he never visit your blog,its so sad!! by the way everyone can find your blog is in yahoo New(Taiwan)now

  8. i hope your friend does visit so he can read all the wonderful comments about his’ brother. i hope he contributes his own comments for us to read.

  9. jonathan, i always say “its not about ability, its about responsibility.” no matter what happened, mistake or not, those men took responsibility and saved our lives on the ground. Hukou would be a very different place today if they did not.

  10. We all die someday. The difference is that some people die for a cause and most of us die as we must. The pilots are no doubt the former. Your photos help us realize that the good will at heart could really overcome the horror in face of such finality. I think you have, to some degree, also joined that good part of humainity and brought to our conscience something truly beautiful and noble in your photos. Thanks a lot!

  11. I guess nobody could ever truly know how you feel about the way the military made use of your photos, yet I personally disagree with their conclusion. You do take the full right of doing any actions about the photos, and I admire what you have done with them. On the other hand, I would believe that one of the best ways to salute the two valiants is to appreciate their sacrifice and learn a lesson from the sorrow of 5371. Thanks, MJ.

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