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Seven Navy sailors injured as F-35C pilot crashes on USS Carl Vinson

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Seven Navy sailors injured as F-35C pilot crashes on USS Carl Vinson
The pilot of a U.S. F-35C crashed on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson on Monday, injuring seven Navy sailors. File Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Isaiah Williams/U.S. Navy

Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Seven U.S. Navy sailors were injured after a U.S. F-35C jet crashed on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, the U.S. Pacific Fleet said Monday.

The pilot crashed while conducting routine flight operations in the South China Sea on Monday, the fleet said in a statement. The pilot safely ejected and was in stable condition after being recovered by a U.S. military helicopter.

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Three injured sailors had to be evacuated to receive medical treatment at a facility in Manila and were in stable condition.

Four others were treated by on-board medical staff and three have since been released.

The fleet described the crash as an "inflight mishap" and said an investigation into the incident is underway.

The crash was the first for an F-35C, CNN reported.

The aircraft is a variant of the single-engine stealth fighter, designed for operations off aircraft carriers, while the F-35A flown by the Air Force takes off and lands on conventional runways and the Marine Corps' F-35B can operate from the Navy's amphibious assault ships.

The F-35C became operational in 2019, making it the last of the three variants put into use.

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