A photo and video of a U.S. Navy F-35C stealth fighter crashing into the South China Sea earlier this week have surfaced on social media.
The Navy said the $100 million warplane sank Monday after a "landing mishap" aboard the USS Carl Vinson left seven military personnel injured.
A spokesperson for the Navy's 7th Fleet said Friday that an investigation into the incident was continuing while confirming images that have emerged on social media are genuine.
"The ship has assessed that the video and photo covered by media today were taken onboard USS Carl Vinson ... during the crash," said Cmdr. Hayley Sims, public affairs officer for the 7th Fleet, CNN reported.
A video posted on Instagram shows the F-35C's final approach to the carrier.
The 17-second video shows the aircraft — apparently carrying two missiles — with landing gear and tailhook down as it approached the fantail at the end of the base turn in what seems to be perfect weather and visibility.
The very last second shows the jet hitting the flight deck or ramp with white smoke becoming visible before recording stops.
On Thursday, a photo showing an F-35C floating in the water appeared on Twitter. The jet’s cockpit was open and the ejection seat was missing.
An effort to recover the fighter jet from the bottom of the South China Sea had begun, Lt. Nicholas Lingo, a 7th Fleet spokesperson, said Friday.
CNN reported that analysts said raising the aircraft would likely be a complex operation, and one that would be monitored by China.
The Chinese Communist Party claim almost all of the 1.3 million-square-mile South China Sea as their territory.
The F-35C, the newest jet in the Navy fleet, contains advanced technology that Washington doesn’t want China to get.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday said it was aware that a U.S. Navy stealth fighter had crashed in the South China Sea, but "had no interests in their plane," CNN reported.
"We advise [the US] to contribute more to regional peace and stability, rather than flexing force at every turn in [the South China Sea]," China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, CNN reported.
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