Video shows Navy jet crashing onto deck of USS Carl Vinson in South China Sea


A stunning video circulating on social media that appears to show the moment an F-35C Lightning II jet crashed into the deck of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the South China Sea is authentic, a Navy spokesperson has revealed. 

The incident involving the USS Carl Vinson – which the Navy has described as a “landing mishap” – happened on Jan. 24 and left seven sailors injured, while the pilot managed to safely eject. 

“We are aware that there has been an unauthorized release of video footage from flight deck cameras onboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) of the F-35C Lightning II crash that occurred Jan. 24, in the South China Sea,” Naval Air Forces Pacific spokesman Cmdr. Zachary Harrell told Stars and Stripes. “There is an ongoing investigation into both the crash and the unauthorized release of the shipboard video footage.” 

F-35C stealth jet sits on deck of USS Carl Vinson in the Western Pacific, south of Japan.

F-35C stealth jet sits on deck of USS Carl Vinson in the Western Pacific, south of Japan. (Reuters/Tim Kelly)


The video shows the crash unfold from multiple angles. As the plane approaches the deck of the USS Carl Vinson, a voice can be heard yelling “wave off! wave off!” in an attempt for the aircraft to abort its landing. 

In one angle, the jet is seen on fire as it slides across the deck of the aircraft carrier before falling into the water, causing a massive splash. 


Three of the sailors that were injured in the crash required MEDEVAC to a medical treatment facility in Manila, Philippines. The Navy said they “are assessed as stable.” The remaining four were treated onboard by medical personnel. 

According to the Pentagon, two U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Groups, led by the Carl Vinson and USS Abraham Lincoln, began operations in the South China Sea in late January. The carriers entered the disputed waters after China launched 39 aircraft, mostly fighter jets near Taiwan – the largest show of force in months. 

Fox News’ Bradford Betz and Lucas Y. Tomlinson contributed to this report. 

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