The United States has managed to beat China to the wreckage of a top-notch F-35 US fighter jet sunken deep in the South China Sea.
The successful recovery of the F-35C aircraft was announced on Thursday by the Seventh Fleet of the United States Navy.
Its announcement has put an end to weeks of widespread fears and concerns that the Chinese Communist People’s Liberation Army Navy might be able to snatch it from the booth of the sea.
$100 Million Mishap Where Lots More Was at Stake
The incident occurred while the USS Carl Vinson battle group was carrying out military exercises in the South China Sea, almost all of which is unlawfully claimed by Communist China as its own sovereign territory.
The incident saw the $100 million-worth fighter jet first crash-land onto the deck of the aircraft carrier, catch fire, then rip through the restraining cables, and slide into the sea where it sank.
A total of seven US Navy service personnel were hurt in the incident, which also left lots of debris on the catapult tracks of the USS Carl Vinson.
The four other personnel who were injured in the incident were treated on the USS Carl Vinson.
According to the announcement of the US Navy, the wreckage of the stealth airplane was salvaged from a depth of some 12,400 feet from the bottom of the South China Sea.
The F-35 jet was retrieved using a vehicle operated remotely, which attached rigging to the warplane, and then it was pulled up to a “Picasso” diving support construction vessel.
F-35C lost after ramp strike while operating from USS Carl Vinson in South China Sea 24/1/22 has been recovered by @USNavy team embarked on diving support construction vessel Picasso.
CURV-21 ROV used to attach rigging and lift lines to the aircraft.https://t.co/KOghS3zE3M pic.twitter.com/3h1Z7OfVBO
— Navy Lookout (@NavyLookout) March 3, 2022
In the interest of National Security we recover an F-35 from the depths of the South China Sea, but we wont build a simple wall? pic.twitter.com/NWvRpEBtmK
— Jose Castillo for Congress (@JoseForFlorida) March 4, 2022
US Navy and China Downplayed the Race to the Bottom
The statement added the crashed plane would be brought to a US military installation in order to be used in the further investigation of the mishap.
The rescue operation was led by the Supervisor of Salvage and Diving of the Naval Sea Systems Command and the Seventh Fleet Task Force 75.
Footage and photographs showing the crash and sinking of the F-35 in January have been leaked online; five servicemen have been charged over the leak.
The USS Carl Vinson sailed to the Indo-Pacific region in August 2021 and it returned to San Diego, California, in February, not long after the fighter jet incident.
The case in question was the first deployment in which it had the F-35C Lightning II jet onboard.
US media have been snowed under with warnings that China would be eager to grab hold of the sunken fifth generation fighter jet, and that it shouldn’t be allowed to get it.
However, the US Navy has been downplaying such fears. Meanwhile, the Chinese officials have been dismissing reports that they are scrambling to snatch the US fighter plane. Only time will tell.
U.S. 7th Fleet & Naval Sea Systems Command successfully retrieved the F-35 fighter jet that crashed 37 days ago in the South China Sea. The wreckage was recovered from a depth ~12,400 ft., following fears that it could end up in the hands of the Chinese military. pic.twitter.com/9HCof1TVfn
— W.J. Hennigan (@wjhenn) March 3, 2022
After a gnarly crash off the deck of the USS Carl Vinson in January, the Navy has recovered the wreckage of the F-35 Lightning II.
Story by @phamos https://t.co/Ah4TEiVTIo
— Coffee or Die Magazine (@CoffeeOrDieMag) March 3, 2022