Navy to salvage stealth fighter that crashed in South China Sea

The Navy will make efforts to salvage a military fighter jet that crashed in the South China Sea.

Seven sailors were injured on Monday after an F-35C Lightning II that was assigned to Carrier Air Wing 2 had a “landing mishap” on deck while conducting flight operations for the USS Carl Vinson.

Capt. William Clinton, a spokesperson for U.S. Pacific Fleet, told The Hill in an email that the Navy was in the “planning process” of recovering the jet but didn’t provide any further details into those efforts.   

It was unclear from Monday’s statement where exactly the mishap occurred and just how deep into the sea the jet is. An investigation into the crash is ongoing.

A day earlier, the Carl Vinson began dual carrier operations in the South China Sea with the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group.

Lt. Mark Langford, a 7th Fleet spokesman, told ABC News that the damage from the carrier’s deck was “superficial and all equipment for flight operations is operational.”

The pilot was ejected from the aircraft, was recovered by a military helicopter and was in stable condition, according to the Navy’s Monday statement.

Three of the injured sailors required treatment at a medical facility in the Philippines and were assessed as stable. Four of the sailors were treated on-board by medical personnel, of which three had been released, the statement said.

This wouldn’t be the first time a country sought to recover an F-35 jet. Most recently, a British F-35B that crashed from the deck of its carrier in November was recovered, CNN reported.


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