The pilot was able to eject before the plane crashed into the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson on Monday and then crashed into the water. Lieutenant Mark Langford, a spokesman for the US 7th Fleet, said the pilot was safely recovered by helicopter.
Seven sailors, including the pilot, were injured and three were evacuated for medical treatment in Manila, Philippines, while four were being treated on board. The Navy said three people sent to Manila were reported in stable condition Tuesday morning.
Langford said the details of the multimillion-dollar plane’s crash are still being verified.
“The condition and recovery of the aircraft is currently under investigation,” he told The Associated Press.
Two US aircraft carrier battle groups with more than 14,000 sailors and marines are conducting drills in the South China Sea, which the military says is to demonstrate “the capabilities of the Joint Indian Ocean Command– America’s Pacific in providing a powerful maritime force.”
The impact on the USS Carl Vinson’s deck was “superficial,” Langford said, and both carriers have resumed normal flight operations.
As China strengthens its territorial claims in the South China Sea and increases pressure on Taiwan, the United States and its allies have stepped up exercises in the region, in what they call freedom of action. navigation in accordance with international law.
According to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, when the Carl Vinson and Abraham Lincoln strike groups began operating on the dual carriers on Sunday, China sent 39 fighter jets towards Taiwan in its largest sortie. New Year, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense.
China’s formation of 24 J-16 fighters and 10 J-10 fighters were already outside Taiwan’s airspace, but the maneuver prompted Taiwan to dispatch its own planes in response.
Chinese pilots fly toward Taiwan almost daily, and it’s not clear whether Sunday’s flights were a response to US drills. China’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment.
Taiwan and China split in a civil war in 1949, but China claims the island as its own territory. Beijing has used diplomatic and military means to isolate and threaten the self-ruled island, but the US continues to support Taiwan by selling it advanced weapons and fighter jets.
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https://abc13.com/us-navy-combat-jet-crash-f35c-lightning-ii-south-china-sea-sailors-injured/11507088/ US Navy fighter plane crashes during drills in the South China Sea, 7 sailors injured