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F-35 Fighter Jet Crash-Lands on USS Carl Vinson, Skids Off the Deck and Is Lost at Sea

Mishaps happen to the best of us, but when we’re talking about $100+ million worth of military gear, quick corrective action is needed. This is the case with an F-35 fighter jet that is supposedly lost at sea after it crash-landed onto the deck of USS Carl Vinson, and then skid off it and plunged into the South China Sea.
USS Carl Vinson and the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group begin operations in South China Sea 16 photos
USS Carl Vinson and the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group begin operations in South China SeaUSS Carl Vinson and the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group begin operations in South China SeaUSS Carl Vinson and the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group begin operations in South China SeaUSS Carl Vinson and the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group begin operations in South China SeaUSS Carl Vinson flight deck operationsUSS Carl Vinson flight deck operationsUSS Carl Vinson flight deck operationsUSS Carl Vinson flight deck operationsUSS Carl Vinson flight deck operationsUSS Carl Vinson flight deck operationsUSS Carl Vinson flight deck operationsUSS Carl Vinson flight deck operationsUSS Carl Vinson flight deck operationsUSS Carl Vinson flight deck operationsUSS Carl Vinson flight deck operations
The incident happened one day after USS Carl Vinson and the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group began conducting naval drills and freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea. The U.S. has challenged China’s claimed ownership over the sea and the maritime trade route, but Beijing stands firm on its claim.

According to the US Navy’s office, the incident happened during routine flight operations, and is qualified as a “landing mishap.” Too many details are not included in the statement, since this is a military operation and, to boot, one that is still under investigation. However, the statement notes that the aircraft in question was an F-35C Lightning II jet, which crash-landed onto the carrier’s deck. The pilot was able to eject and was rescued by helicopter.

The same statement notes that a total of seven people were injured, with three rushed out to Manila, where they were hospitalized. Their condition has since been updated to “stable.” The other four personnel received medical assistance on deck and have been cleared.

The statement doesn’t say anything about the damage to the aircraft carrier, but US Naval Institute News notes that it was able to continue operations without issue, despite the accident. The same report says that the fighter jet skidded off the deck and sunk into the South China Sea, and is now lost.

According to the Daily Mail, the focus right now is on beating China to recover the sunken aircraft and prevent all the technology on it from falling into the wrong hands. Officials have confirmed that a rescue operation is underway (thus confirming that it has, indeed, been lost at sea), but they add that “we cannot speculate on what the PRC’s intentions are on this matter.”



 
 
 
 
 

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