The Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II fighter jet that crashed into the South China Sea due to a “landing mishap” has now been recovered.
According to a US Navy press release, the operation took place on March 2, 2022, and involved the US 7th Fleet’s Task Force (CTF) 75 and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).
The aircraft was recovered from a depth of 12,400 feet (3,780 meters) by a Picasso, a diving support construction vessel.
According to the release, a remotely operated vehicle secured the jet with a special rigging, allowing for it to be lifted up by a ship’s crane.
“Ultimately, this deliberate approach resulted in the correct capabilities conducting recovery operations within 37 days of the incident. Given the unique challenges of this problem and the unique technical capabilities that NAVSEA delivered, this was an aggressive and achievable timeline,” CTF 75 Commodore Gareth Healy said in the release.
According to the Navy, the jet will now be transported to a nearby military base to help with the ongoing investigation into the crash.
A photo of the recovered aircraft onboard the Picasso has also been published, showing the jet wrapped in what appears to be several layers of gray fabric.
A F-35C, which was a part of Carrier Air Wing 2, crashed while conducting a routine training operation onboard US Navy aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson on January 25, 2022. The Navy described the crash as a “landing mishap”, revealing that the pilot had successfully ejected, and seven sailors were injured in the incident.
Later, several videos surfaced online, depicting the event in detail. The videos were later confirmed to be genuine.