At least 7 sailors, including the pilot, were wounded after a US combat jet crashed on the deck of a US aircraft carrier while conducting routine exercises in the South China Sea, reported the US military on Tuesday.
“Pilot Ejects After F-35 Lightning II ‘Landing Mishap’ on USS Carl Vinson in South China Sea” – USNI News Tweeted.
In a public statement released on Monday, the US Pacific Fleet command told the news outlets that “the F-35C Lightning II jet was conducting routine flight operations when the crash happened on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson”.
The aircraft pilot managed to eject from the jet before it slammed into the deck of the nuclear-powered US carrier and then fell into the sea. However, a rescue helicopter saved the pilot, reported the representative for the U.S. 7th Fleet, Lt. Mark Langford.
While out of the seven sailors who got injured, three were flown for immediate treatment in Manila, Philippines, and the remaining four were nursed onboard the carrier.
According to the Tuesday morning reports, the three who were evacuated for treatment are now in stable condition.
“US Navy fighter jet crashes during carrier landing in the South China Sea.”
“The pilot safely ejected from the aircraft and was recovered via U.S. military helicopter. The pilot is in stable condition.”
Investigation regarding the multi-million-dollar jet crash is under progress, Langford said.
“The status and recovery of the aircraft is currently under investigation,” he revealed to The Associated Press.
Two US CSG (carrier strike groups) along with several marines and 14000 sailors are performing routine exercises near the South China Sea “to demonstrate the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Joint Force’s ability to deliver a powerful maritime force”, according to the military.
“Impact to the deck of the USS Carl Vinson was ‘superficial’,” said Langford, and the carries have begun performing routine operations.
After China pressed its claims to the South China Sea and forced pressure on Taiwan, the United States and its allies began operations in the region, in what its officials called “freedom of navigation operations in line with international law”.