Seven sailors were injured Monday when a F-35C Joint Strike Fighter jet suffered a “landing mishap” on the deck of the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, the latest in a string of aviation accidents to plague the carrier’s air wing during its current West Pacific deployment.
The jet was conducting routine flight operations in the South China Sea Monday when the mishap occurred, according to a Navy statement.
The pilot safely ejected from the stealth fighter and was rescued by a military helicopter, the Navy said.
Three sailors on the deck required medical evacuation to a Manila, Philippines, hospital, while the other four were treated by medical personnel onboard the ship, according to the Navy.
The Navy said that the three sailors evacuated from the ship “are assessed as stable,” and that three of the four treated on the ship have been released.
Officials did not immediately respond to questions regarding whether the pilot was one of the sailors evacuated from the ship or precisely how the mishap occurred, but a Navy statement indicated the pilot was one of those in stable condition.
“Additional details and cause of the inflight mishap is under investigation,” the Navy said in a statement.
Monday’s mishap is at least the fifth major aviation mishap in recent months to befall Carl Vinson, which deployed with F-35s for the first time last summer.
A CMV-22B Osprey suffered a starboard engine fire while stationary on Carl Vinson’s flight deck on Dec. 31.
“The flight crew executed appropriate ground emergency procedures and shut the aircraft down,” Gibson said. “The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.”
The Osprey is for the first time replacing the aging C-2A Greyhound as the carrier onboard delivery aircraft for bringing people, parts and mail from shore to the Carl Vinson strike group.
Before that, on Nov. 29, an F/A-18E Super Hornet made an emergency landing after a pilot received cockpit notification of an “Airframe Mounted Accessory Drive (AMAD) pressure caution” for one of the jet’s engines, according to officials.
The pilot executed single engine procedures and landed the jet safely on the carrier.
Five days before that, on Nov. 24, a dipping sonar system used to hunt submarines “unexpectedly detached” from a cable connecting it to a MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter during anti-submarine warfare training and was lost to the sea.
And on Nov. 22, the starboard engine of another F/A-18E Super Hornet caught fire in flight during training over the Philippine Sea, but the jet was able to return to the carrier, officials said.
Officials have declined to provide further details on any of the mishaps, citing ongoing investigations.
Vinson left San Diego for its latest deployment on Aug. 2 with a “beefed-up” air wing that includes not only F-35s but also more EA-18G Growlers and E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes.
The carrier is drilling this week in the South China Sea with fellow aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and their respective strike groups.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.