Leaked video shows US combat jet crash in South China Sea

FILE — In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson participates in a group sail during the Rim of the Pacific exercise off the coast of Hawaii, July 26, 2018. (Petty Officer 1st Class Arthurgwain L. Marquez/U.S. Navy via AP, File)

(NewsNation Now) — A video leaked over the weekend shows the moment an F-35C fighter jet crashed into the South China Sea on Jan. 24. The crash and the corresponding video remain under investigation, according to Navy officials.

“We are aware that there has been an unauthorized release of video footage from flight deck cameras onboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) of the F-35C Lightning II crash Jan. 24 in the South China Sea,” Navy spokesman Zachary Harrell said in a statement emailed to NewsNation on Monday. “There is an ongoing investigation into both the crash and the unauthorized release of the shipboard video footage.” 

The jet was conducting exercises in the South China Sea when it crashed while trying to land on the deck of an American aircraft carrier, injuring seven sailors, the military said Jan. 25.

The pilot was able to eject before the aircraft slammed into the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson on Monday and then fell into the water. The pilot was safely recovered by a helicopter, said Lt. Mark Langford, a spokesman for the U.S. 7th Fleet.

Seven sailors, including the pilot, were injured and three were evacuated for medical treatment in Manila, Philippines, while four were treated on board the ship.

The video, posted to Reddit on Saturday, shows that crash from the flight deck. Screams could be heard just before the aircraft touched down.

Two American carrier strike groups with more than 14,000 sailors and Marines are conducting exercises in the South China Sea, which the military says is to demonstrate the “U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Joint Force’s ability to deliver a powerful maritime force.”

The impact to the deck of the USS Carl Vinson was “superficial,” Langford said, and both carriers have resumed routine flight operations.


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