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7 injured in fighter jet's 'landing mishap' on U.S. aircraft carrier in South China Sea

The pilot of the fighter jet "safely ejected" from the F-35C Lightning II and was recovered from the water via a U.S. military helicopter, the Pacific Fleet said in a statement.
Image: The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) transits the Pacific Ocean
Seven sailors were injured on Monday after an F-35C warplane suffered a "landing mishap" on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson.Reuters file

Seven sailors were injured on Monday after an F-35 jet suffered a "landing mishap" on the deck of an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea, the United States Navy said.

The pilot of the fighter jet “safely ejected from the aircraft and was recovered via U.S. military helicopter,” the U.S. Pacific Fleet said in a statement published on Monday.

It was not immediately clear whether they were one of the seven injured in the incident, but the Navy said they were in stable condition as of Monday.

It is also unclear what exact injuries were sustained by the sailors aboard the USS Carl Vinson who were hurt in the crash landing.

The Navy said three sailors required medical evacuation to a medical treatment facility in Manila, Philippines and were assessed as being in stable condition. The other four were treated by on-board medical personnel.

The incident unfolded while the F-35C Lightning II warplane was conducting "routine flight operations" in the South China Sea, the Navy said. The cause of the "inflight mishap" was still under investigation, it added.

The Navy did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

USS Carl Vinson deployed from San Diego last August after a $367 million retrofit allowing it to accommodate the F-35C Lightning II, one of the most advanced fighter jets in the world, NBC San Diego reported at the time.

The voyage marked the first time a carrier strike group deployed with capabilities compatible with both the fighter jet and the Navy CMV-22B Osprey aircraft.