A U.S. Combat Jet ‘F35C Lightning II’ crashed on an aircraft carrier while carrying out exercise drills in the South China Sea region, injuring 7 on the carrier. Three of the seven injured were taken to Manila in the Philippines for emergency medical treatment, while four were treated on deck.

The pilot of the F35C U.S. Combat Jet, ejected during the “landing mishap on deck” before it slammed into USS Carl Vinson’s flight deck, falling into the water. A spokesperson for the U.S. 7th Fleet, Lt. Mark Langford confirmed the pilot was rescued by a military helicopter.

The Navy reported the three sailors who were sent to Manila for medical care were in stable condition, early on Tuesday. The U.S. Combat Jet destroyed during the incident was a multimillion-dollar aircraft, used by the Navy. What caused the crash and how much damage was sustained is all under investigation currently. According to reports, more than 14,000 sailors and marines are currently carrying out exercises as part of two American carrier strike groups in order to showcase the “US Indo-Pacific Command Joint Force’s ability to deliver a powerful maritime force.”

US Indo-Pacific Command Joint Force's
pacom.mil

The exercises have been amped up in the region ever since China has once again mentioned its claims to the South China sea territory, putting more pressure on Taiwan. The increased operations are being called “freedom of navigation operations in line with international law.”

According to Taiwan’s defense ministry, China sent 39 warplanes towards Taiwan since the U.S. Navy strike groups Carl Vinson and Abraham Lincoln started their joint operations and exercises. On a daily basis since then, Chinese flights have been going towards Taiwan on a regular basis. China claims Taiwan its own territory despite the two countries splitting up in 1949, following a civil war. Taiwan has been a U.S. ally in the continued long dispute with China.

Since the investigation on the crashed U.S. Combat Jet is currently underway, it is unknown whether it is still recoverable or not.