The incident that was rightfully labeled as “bizarre” took place on Friday, according to the official statement released by the U.S. Navy on July 10. It was said that “unexpected heavy weather” literally blew the 32,000 lbs (14,500 kg) aircraft overboard. Nobody was hurt except one sailor who suffered minor injuries.
The USS Truman was in the Mediterranean Sea when this happened, as the Truman Strike Group has been operating in the area since December.
Although the U.S. 6th Fleet is still investigating what happened, experts suggest that unprecedented weather conditions in that area might have led to microbursts or highly violent winds.
Citing several sources, the Washington Post speculated that these strong winds could have blown the Super Hornet overboard despite its weight if it had not been secured properly. But it’s still hard to believe that the stormy weather was “unexpected,” especially with the recent heat wave in Italy reaching unprecedented heights.
Not too long ago, in March, the Navy managed to recover an F-35C Lightning II from the Pacific, where it had fallen due to a ramp strike on the USS Carl Vinson. Perhaps it will succeed in recovering this F/A-18 Super Hornet as well. It may be just as important, if not more important, to elucidate the mystery that turned bad weather into the greatest enemy.