Navy fighter jet crashes during carrier landing in South China Sea

A U.S. Navy fighter jet attempting to land on an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea had a "landing mishap" on the ship's deck Monday that left seven sailors injured, according to the Navy.

The pilot of the F-35c fighter jet was able to eject safely and was recovered from the waters where the carrier, USS Carl Vinson, is operating.

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The Navy's U.S. Pacific Fleet said in a statement the incident occured "on deck while USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) was conducting routine flight operations."

"The pilot safely ejected from the aircraft and was recovered via U.S. military helicopter. The pilot is in stable condition," the statement added.

Of the seven sailors who were injured on the deck, four received medical treatment aboard the carrier while the other three were medevaced to a facility in Manila, Philippines, and are in stable condition, according to the Navy.

Three of the four Sailors who received medical care aboard the carrier have been released.

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It was unclear if the airframe of the fighter jet remained on the carrier's deck or if it had been lost at sea.

The crash occurred while the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson Strike Group was involved in a high-profile naval exercise with the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln Strike Group, the USS Essex Amphibious Ready Group, the USS America Amphibious Ready Group and a Japanese Maritime Self Defense helicopter carrier.

The participation of so many air capable and amphibious U.S. Navy ships operating together in the South China Sea highlights the U.S. Navy's capabilities in a region where China continues to make maritime territorial claims.

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