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F-35 Crash Injures Seven Sailors on the Deck of USS Carl Vinson

f-35c
F-35C lands aboard USS Carl Vinson (USN file image)

Published Jan 25, 2022 11:25 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Navy is investigating a landing mishap in which an F-35 fighter jet crashed on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson in the South China Sea, injuring seven sailors.

The Navy said that the F-35C Lightning II jet, which is assigned to Carrier Air Wing 2, crashed on deck of the carrier while conducting routine flight operations.

The pilot of the fighter jet safely ejected from the aircraft and was recovered via helicopter. The individual is said to be in stable condition.

“There were seven total sailors injured; three sailors required medevac to a medical treatment facility in Manila, Philippines, and four were treated by on-board medical personnel. All three medevacs are assessed as stable. Of the four sailors treated by on-board medical, three have been released,” said the Navy in a statement.

The cause of the mishap is under investigation. No information was provided about the extent of any material damage on deck. 

The incident comes just two months after a British F-35 crashed into the Mediterranean while operating off the deck of the Royal Navy carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. The pilot of the $115 million jet ejected and was safely returned to the ship.

Early this month, South Korea announced it was grounding its entire fleet of F-35 fighter jets after one of the aircrafts had to conduct an emergency belly landing due to a landing gear malfunction.

The F-35C is the U.S. Navy's first stealth fighter, and it is one of three variants built by Lockheed for the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy and a range of international partners. It features advanced sensor fusion technology to give the pilot heightened battlefield awareness, as well as a range of advanced stealth features that reduce its radar signature.

Carl Vinson deployed for her current mission in the Indo-Pacific region in August after completing a 17-month maintenance period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington. This is the first time that the nuclear-powered carrier has deployed for a mission with the F-35C fighter jets.