US Navy pilot ejects, 7 injured in F-35 ‘landing incident’ in South China Sea


WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (Reuters) – Seven U.S. service members were injured on Monday when an F-35C fighter jet had a “accident landing” on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the South China Sea and the pilot ejected, the U.S. Navy said.

A Navy statement said the incident occurred during “routine air operations” in the South China Sea.

“The pilot ejected safely from the plane and was picked up by a US military helicopter,” he said. “The pilot is in stable condition. A total of seven sailors were injured.”

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The statement said three staff members had to be evacuated to a medical facility in Manila and four were treated on board the carrier and released. He said all evacuated personnel were assessed to be in stable condition.

The Navy said the cause of the “flying accident” is under investigation.

The F-35 jet is manufactured by Lockheed Martin (LMT.N).

The Pentagon said two US Navy carrier battle groups, led by the Carl Vinson and the USS Abraham Lincoln, began operations in the South China Sea on Sunday. The carriers entered the contested sea for training as Taiwan reported another Chinese air force incursion atop the waterway. Read more

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Reporting by David Brunnstrom, Phil Stewart and Mike Stone

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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