The Navy has confirmed that video showing the final moments of an F-35C Lightning II landing aboard an aircraft carrier and an image of an F-35C in the water are authentic and depict Monday's crash aboard the USS Carl Vinson.
"The ship has assessed that the video and photo covered in the media yesterday were taken onboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during the crash," Cmdr. Hayley Sims, a spokeswoman for the Navy's 7th Fleet, told Military.com in an email.
The incident left seven sailors injured, while the pilot safely ejected and was later recovered. The Navy has said it is "making recovery operations arrangements" for the aircraft.
The 18-second video, which appears to have been posted to various social media accounts late Thursday evening, shows an F-35C banking to approach the carrier as the ship itself executes a turn. The clip appears to have been shot from the starboard, aft of the ship on a platform that holds an Mk 38 25mm machine gun.
As the jet approaches the ship, the whine of the engine seems to increase and the rear control surfaces flutter just before the aircraft exits the frame. Then a thump can be heard, and smoke emerges from the flight deck.
The video was preceded by a still image surfacing on social media earlier Thursday that showed an F-35C jet floating in the water with no pilot and a missing canopy. Some debris could be seen floating around the jet.
Initially, when asked about the image shortly after it surfaced, the Navy said it could not confirm its authenticity.
The episode marks the fifth major incident aboard the Carl Vinson in two months while the ship has been deployed in the South China Sea.
According to the Navy, the pilot was rescued by a U.S. military helicopter and is in stable condition. Of the seven injured sailors, three required medevac to a medical treatment facility in Manila, Philippines, and four were treated aboard the aircraft carrier. Sims said that all are now in stable condition.
When asked about the string of mishaps earlier this week, Navy spokesman Lt. Nicholas Lingo said, "All five incidents remain under investigation, and we cannot speak to any pattern until the investigation concludes."
-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.