7 Sailors Injured as Nuclear-Powered US Supercarrier off Chinese Coast Suffers Dangerous 'Mishap'
An F-35 fighter crashed on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier Monday while the carrier was on maneuvers off the coast of China, injuring seven sailors and resulting in the pilot being ejected from the fighter jet.
Everyone involved in the accident was in stable condition, according to USNI News.
In a news release Monday, the Navy said the pilot “safely ejected from the aircraft and was recovered via U.S. military helicopter.”
The cause of the accident has not been released, and the Navy said its investigation is ongoing.
The Navy’s news release began by saying that “an F-35C Lightning II, assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, had a landing mishap on deck while USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) was conducting routine flight operations in the South China Sea.”
USNI News said the plane “impacted the flight deck and subsequently fell to the water during routine flight operations.”
“Impact to the flight deck was superficial, and all equipment for flight operations is operational. Carrier Air Wing 2 and USS Carl Vinson have resumed routine flight operations in the South China Sea,” USNI quoted the Navy as saying.
17-22 JAN, JS HYUGA??conducted a bilateral exercise with the ten @USNavy ships??including the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and USS Abraham Lincoln at the south of Okinawa to strengthen the capability of Japan-U.S. Alliance for effective deterrence and response.
— Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (@jmsdf_pao_eng) January 23, 2022
When The Drive inquired about the status of the F-35, the answer was murky.
“The service is almost certain to try to retrieve as much of the jet as possible to prevent sensitive components, and the information about aircraft’s advanced capabilities that might be gleaned from them, from falling into the hands of America’s competitors, such as Russia or China,” Joseph Trevithick wrote on The Drive.
“The status of the aircraft is currently under investigation, as are the factors involved in the mishap,” said Brenda Way, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
In its reporting on the incident, the Daily Mail framed the accident as “a race to beat China” to recover the $100 million fighter, which has advanced technology.
The accident is the fifth involving the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier since Nov. 22, USNI reported, attributing the information to the Naval Safety Center.
Race to beat China to recover $100m US F-35 stealth fighter from bottom of South China Sea after it crash landed on aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson: Fears secret technology from America’s most advanced jet could fall into enemy hands https://t.co/draECrevvF
— Ghosted Hippie (@GhostedHippie) January 25, 2022
In Monday’s incident, the Navy said, “There were seven total Sailors injured; three Sailors required MEDEVAC to a medical treatment facility in Manila, Philippines, and four were treated by on-board medical personnel.
“All three MEDEVACs are assessed as stable. Of the four Sailors treated by on-board medical, three have been released.
F-35 crash off of USS Carl Vinson is the carrier’s 5th major mishap in 2 months https://t.co/hz6fFya0Gc pic.twitter.com/hVZsvG1Uky
— Michael Lisse (@mlisse) January 25, 2022
The Drive noted that salvaging the jet, if it is in the water, could be complicated even without potential competition from China or Russia for the prize.
“The depth of the water at the site of this U.S. Navy accident, as well as weather and other environmental factors, will all be among the various elements the service can be expected to take into account when determining whether such a recovery operation is practical,” Trevithick wrote.
“If the aircraft sunk, just determining its final resting place could be a complicated affair.”
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