SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Navy says five sailors have been charged with violating military law over leaked video showing an F-35 fighter jet crashing on an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea last month.
In a statement Thursday, Cmdr. Zachary Harrell, a Naval Air Forces spokesman, indicated the sailors are accused of disobeying orders. Among those charged are a U.S. Navy ensign, one senior chief petty officer and three chief petty officers under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Harrell said.
The video that aired online this month showed the F-35C Lightning II hitting the deck of the San Diego-based USS Carl Vinson wing-first, and then skating off the deck into the water on Jan. 24.
The pilot ejected and was injured along with six sailors.
“We remain grateful to the highly trained Sailors aboard USS Carl Vinson who immediately responded to ensure that the pilot was recovered from the water, all injured personnel were cared for, and flight deck was cleared and re-set for operations,” Harrell’s statement reads. “After a short pause in accordance with safety procedures, the rapid response from the crew enabled flight operations resume with minimal impact to mission requirements.”
The cause of the crash has been under investigation.
The Carl Vinson, which is based in San Diego, returned to the area Monday after a deployment that lasted eight months, the Union-Tribune reported.