New video has emerged, possibly the result of a military leak, of a British fighter jet crash that occurred less than two weeks ago off the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean.
A Nov.17 press release put out by the UK Defence Ministry had stated, "A British F35 pilot from HMS Queen Elizabeth ejected during routine flying operations in the Mediterranean this morning." The pilot was described as in safe condition and is back on the ship after the major incident, but further details were scant. But new video has been featured by Business Insider after apparently leaked footage from aboard the carrier was posted to social media. A UK military analyst posted the new footage:
Well thank God he is still with us! That’s all I can say. pic.twitter.com/YtL6f0BFAm— Seb H (@sebh1981) November 29, 2021
The Royal Navy video looks to be security footage from the crash. It was initially unknown whether the advanced fighter jet had crashed while in flight, or if it had rolled off the carrier, with the footage now confirming the latter scenario.
The private analyst who posted the footage online said it was sourced to a Royal Navy WhatsApp group, with Business Insider describing the scene as follows:
The video shows the plane losing speed as it climbs the runway, so much so that it immediately drops instead of taking off. The pilot's parachute is visible as he ejects, and smoke billows around the ramp and sea.
The BBC's report added that the MoD confirmed that the pilot survived and was rescued. The MoD also told the BBC that an investigation was still underway as crews are still trying to recover parts of the high-technology, sensitive parts of the plane.
The UK military has since said it was "aware" of the now public video but didn't give comment. It simply stated that "It is too soon to comment on the potential causes of this incident."
One former Royal Navy officer was cited in British media as explaining, "Given how close the aircraft ditched to the bow, and the speed of the ship on launch, the likelihood of it hitting the bow of the ship (under the waterline) would be quite high."
The short clip shows the jet taking off at a dangerously slow speed, and then appearing to power down just as it reached the end of the runway, which caused it to plunge into the sea below. The pilot ejected at the moment the F-35's nose began going overboard. The military hasn't confirmed if there was damage to the carrier due to the accident.
The crashed jet was part of a contingent of nearly a dozen F-35s aboard. The F-35 that went down was an estimated 135 million dollars, and had cutting-edge stealth technology and radar. Depending on what the investigation returns, the mishap could prove hugely embarrassing, especially if it wasn't pilot error but something wrong with the plane's advanced systems.