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F-35B Fighter Jet That Fell Off Carrier Ramp, Finally Retrieved From the Bottom of the Sea

On November 17, 2021, a most ridiculous and expensive incident marred the final leg of the maiden journey of carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth: one of Britain’s F-35B fighter jets fell off the launch ramp and sunk into the Mediterranean.
F-35B fighter jet on the ramp on HMS Queen Elizabeth, moments before sinking into the Mediterranean 26 photos
Video of the moment an F-35B fighter jet fails to launch off HMS Queen Elizabeth and crashes into the sea has leakedVideo of the moment an F-35B fighter jet fails to launch off HMS Queen Elizabeth and crashes into the sea has leakedVideo of the moment an F-35B fighter jet fails to launch off HMS Queen Elizabeth and crashes into the sea has leakedVideo of the moment an F-35B fighter jet fails to launch off HMS Queen Elizabeth and crashes into the sea has leakedF-35A Lighting IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35 LightningF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIUSAF/Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffinF-15E Strike EaglesF-15F-15F-15F-15F-15F-15F-15F-15F-15F-15F-15F-15
The exact causes of the incident have not been determined, as the investigation is still underway. One theory popular in online circles is that a plastic rain cover got sucked into the fighter jet’s engine, which prevented it from achieving throttle for the launch. So, instead of liftoff at the end of the ramp, the aircraft casually slipped off it, sinking into the waters of the Mediterranean below.

We know that at least the final part of the account is accurate, due to a surveillance video that leaked weeks after the fact. The Ministry of Defense has now issued an update on both these incidents, SkyNews reports.

The first update concerns the fighter jet itself, one of the 24 F-35 aircraft in the fleet of the British Royal Navy, and the only one to be involved in an incident of any kind. After more than two weeks underwater, it has finally been retrieved, with the recovery effort involving Allied forces. British, Italian, and American crews conducted a top-secret, seven-day rescue operation and were able to get to the aircraft in a surprisingly easy manner, says the report.

It is believed the aircraft was located 1 mile (1.6 km) underwater, and there were serious security risks involved in getting it back, lest the wrong people got to it first. The fighter jet is estimated at £100 million ($134 million) due to the state-of-the-art tech on board, including “sophisticated” radar and sensors. The same report quotes sources as feeling relieved that the onboard equipment has not been damaged.

The second update is on the leak, with the Ministry of Defense identifying the sailor who filmed the CCTV camera showing footage of the crash and then released it online. It is believed the sailor has been arrested, but no word on what kind of charges he’s facing.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is the Royal Navy’s new flagship. The incident happened during a routine exercise, as the carrier was returning from its maiden journey to the Far East, carrying several British and American F-35s.



 
 
 
 
 

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