US fighter jet crashes off Philippines; pilot safe

A US Navy handout photo shows an F/A-18C Hornet as it takes off from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson on April 12. Photo credit AFP via philstar.com

By Janvic Mateo/The Philippine Star – A US Navy pilot ejected safely from his fighter jet while attempting to land on aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in Celebes Sea in southern Philippines.

In a statement on Friday, the US Navy said a helicopter recovered the pilot after ejecting from an F/A-18E Super Hornet while conducting routine flight operations over Celebes Sea.

“The incident is currently under investigation. The pilot is being assessed by the medical team on board USS Carl Vinson and there are no apparent injuries at this time,” the US Navy said.

Several news reports said the aircraft had crashed, although this was not specifically mentioned in the official statement.

The US Navy also did not disclose where the aircraft carrier was heading when the incident happened.

US President Donald Trump earlier said the USS Carl Vinson led the “armada” heading for North Korea in response to the missile tests conducted by the hermit state.

The aircraft carrier has also been conducting routine patrols in the South China Sea, where various countries including the Philippines, Vietnam and China have conflicting territorial claims.

Last month, US Ambassador Sung Kim toured the USS Carl Vinson along with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II while the aircraft carrier was patrolling in South China Sea.

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