Newly leaked footage of the fiery Jan. 24 F-35 crash on the deck of aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson shows just how lucky the pilot and sailors aboard the ship are to be alive.
A personal camera captured a computer screen’s playback of two new angles of the F-35 ramp strike, which was subsequently leaked on social media on Sunday.
The crash occurred somewhere in the South China Sea and the pilot and six other sailors on the ship were injured during the incident.
In the footage, the advanced $100 million stealth fighter can be seen coming in for a landing on the U.S. aircraft carrier when it clips a ramp and skids across the carrier’s deck engulfed in flames. Both video angles also include audio from a landing signal officer (LSO)
The first camera angle shows the F-35C fighter jet coming in head-on for a landing. As the aircraft approaches, audio can be heard of the landing signal officer (LSO) yelling for the pilot to add more “power” on the final approach and then repeatedly calling for the pilot to “wave off” and abort the landing attempt. The jet then hits the deck hard, with its front landing gear breaking off. In an instant, the plane’s nose hit the deck and it began a sideways skid right past the on-deck camera, while engulfed in flames.
The second camera angle, taken from an elevated position, shows the plane skidding at high speed across the deck and what appears to be the pilot ejecting from the aircraft.
According to the Navy’s previous statements on the crash, the pilot was able to safely eject from the aircraft and was later recovered by helicopter in stable condition. The Navy has not confirmed when exactly the pilot ejected from the aircraft.
Naval Air Forces officials confirmed to Navy Times “there has been an unauthorized release of video footage from flight deck cameras.”
Cmdr. Zachary Harrell also told Navy Times, “There is an ongoing investigation into both the crash and the unauthorized release of the shipboard video footage.”
The release of the new video footage comes just days after a different video of the crash leaked. That footage taken from below the flight deck, at the back of the aircraft carrier showed the seconds before the F-35 fighter jet crashed.
The Navy is continuing to search for the fighter jet, which after crashing on the carrier’s deck fell off the side of the ship and sank to the bottom of the sea.