NEW video from an aircraft carrier shows the moments before a fighter jet crashed into the South China Sea, injuring seven US service members.
The US Navy confirmed leaked photos and video show the F-35C Lightning II combat jet that plunged into the sea during the crash on January 24.
The jet was involved in a landing mishap while touching down on the USS Carl Vinson during a training exercise, the Navys Pacific Fleet said.
Seven sailors were hurt and the pilot had to be rescued by helicopter.
The ship has assessed that the video and photo covered by media yesterday was taken onboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during the crash, a spokesperson for the 7th Fleet told Navy Times.
There is an ongoing investigation of the incident.
The newly-surfaced video from the aircraft carrier shows the jet coming in for landing before it slammed into the flight deck.
The screen fills with smoke and a loud noise is heard toward the end of the video, while photos show the jet in the water before it sank.
The pilot, who managed to eject before the aircraft hit the deck, was among seven sailors hurt, according to the Navy.
Three sailors had to be taken to Manila, Philippines, for treatment while four sailors were treated onboard the ship, the Associated Press reported.
The seven injured sailors had either recovered or were in stable condition, though the extent of their injuries was not released by the Navy.
Lieutenant Mark Langford, spokesperson for the 7th Fleet, said the damage to the deck was “superficial” and flight drills had since resumed.
The Daily Mail reports the Navy has yet to explain what caused the crash.
“An F-35C Lightning II assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, embarked aboard USS (CVN 70) had a landing mishap and impacted the flight deck and subsequently fell to the water during routine flight operations,” the Navy said in a statement to US Naval Institute News.
‘RACE’ TO RETRIEVE AIRCRAFT
One of the Navy’s most advanced planes, worth $100million, is now at the bottom of the sea, in disputed waters that China claims as its own.
A complex operation to recover it from the ocean will be closely watched by Beijing,CNN reported.
“The US Navy is making recovery operations arrangements for the F-35C aircraft involved in the mishap aboard USS Carl Vinson,” said US 7th Fleet spokesman Lieutenant Nicholas Lingo.
The Navy refused to give more details of how it will retrieve the high-tech jet, which became operational in 2019 afteryears of setbacks.
It was understood that salvage vessels were a 15-day journey from the crash site, and the recovery could then take four months.
Crews will have to work in the mosthotly contested watersin the world.
Beijing claims sovereignty over most of the 1.3million square miles of the South China Sea, sparking disputes with the Philippines and Vietnam.
Chinese naval and coast guard vessels maintain a constant presence in the sea, and regularly block fishermen from using their historic fishing grounds.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a Thursday statement that it was aware of the crash but “had no interest” in the plane, according to the Daily Mail.
“We advise [the US] to contribute more to regional peace and stability, rather than flexing force at every turn in [the South China Sea],” Zhoa Lijian, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, was quoted as saying.
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