The incident happened during routine flight operations while the F-35C warplane was trying to land on the deck of an American aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson on Monday in the South China Sea.
“The pilot safely ejected from the aircraft and was recovered via US military helicopter,” the navy said on Tuesday. “The pilot is in stable condition. There were seven total sailors injured.”
Of the seven injured, three were evacuated for medical treatment in Manila, Philippines, while four were treated on board the ship, the statement said. Those sent to Manila were in a stable condition by Tuesday morning, the Navy said.
The multimillion-dollar F-35C Lightning II combat jet is made by Lockheed Martin. The status and recovery of the aircraft is currently under investigation, a navy spokesperson told Associated Press.
The deck of the USS Carl Vinson had a “superficial” impact, and is back in working condition, the spokesperson added.
The navy said it was investigating the cause of the inflight mishap.
The Pentagon said two US navy carrier strike groups, led by the USS Carl Vinson and USS Abraham Lincoln, began operations in the South China Sea on Sunday.
The carriers entered the disputed sea for training as Taiwan reported a new Chinese air force incursion at the top of the waterway.
The incident comes amid rising tensions between China and Taiwan, with Beijing increasing the pressure of its territorial claims. The United States and its allies have stepped up exercises in the region in what they call freedom of navigation operations in line with international law.
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