Pilot from Korea-bound carrier ejects from jet

Pilot from Korea-bound carrier ejects from jet
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A pilot ejected from his fighter jet Friday while approaching an aircraft carrier heading for the Korean Peninsula, according to a statement from the commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet.

The incident reportedly occurred while the pilot was “conducting routine flight operations during a transit in the Celebes Sea” near Indonesia and the Philippines.

The pilot ejected from his F/A 18E Super-Hornet during its “final approach” to the USS Carl Vinson, assigned to Carrier Air Wing 2.

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The statement, first reported by ABC News, said a helicopter then recovered the pilot, taking him to the Vinson for medical evaluation.

“There are no apparent injuries at this time,” it said, without detailing what led to the pilot’s ejection. “The incident is currently under investigation.”

The strike group has been the center of a new controversy.

The Navy announced on April 9 that the Carl Vinson Strike Group would skip a regularly scheduled visit to Australia and head toward the western Pacific Ocean near Korea.

The White House said the switch was intended as a deterrent to North Korea amid rising tensions over Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

But on Tuesday, reports seized on a Navy photograph taken on April 15 that showed the strike force in the Sunda Strait, thousands of miles away from North Korea.

Administration officials told The New York Times of what the paper called “a glitch-ridden sequence of events” that led to incorrect information about where the strike group was.

“[It] perpetuated the false narrative than an American armada was racing towards the waters of North Korea,” the Times’s report said.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Wednesday denied that the administration misled the public about the strike group’s destination.

“The president said that we have an armada going toward the [Korean Peninsula],” he said. “That is fact. It happened. It is happening, rather.”