Arrangements are being made to recover an F-35C warplane that crashed into the South China Sea after a landing accident, the US Navy has said.
Seven personnel were injured – including the pilot who ejected – in the incident on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson on Monday.
“I can confirm the aircraft impacted the flight deck during landing and subsequently fell to the water,” said Lieutenant Nicholas Lingo, spokesperson for the US 7th Fleet.
“The US Navy is making recovery operations arrangements for the F-35C aircraft.”
Asked about reports suggesting there were fears the aircraft could fall into the hands of China, he replied, referring to the People’s Republic of China: “We cannot speculate on what the PRC’s intentions are on this matter.”
It is the second crash involving a Lockheed Martin-made F-35 and a carrier in just over two months.
An F-35 from HMS Queen Elizabeth crashed into the Mediterranean in November, though the pilot safely ejected.
That aircraft was later recovered by British teams.
Earlier this month, a South Korean F-35A fighter made an emergency landing during training.
And in April 2019, a Japanese F-35 stealth fighter crashed in the Pacific close to northern Japan, killing the pilot.