Video Showing U.S. F-35 Jet Crash in South China Sea Circulates Online

A video showing the F-35C warplane that crashed in the South China Sea on Monday is circulating on social media.

Twitter and Instagram users have widely shared an 18-second clip showing the fighter jet that the U.S. Navy said "had a landing mishap on deck while USS Carl Vinson was conducting routine flight operations."

The video shows the F-35C close to the water before it speeds up and flies past the camera. In the final moments, the screen fills with smoke and what sounds like a crash can be heard.

It is unclear who filmed the clip, but a spokesperson for the U.S. Navy has told Newsweek it was "taken onboard" Carl Vinson during the crash.

The spokesperson, Lt. Mark Langford, added: "There is an ongoing investigation of the incident."

The F-35C Joint Strike Fighter jet "impacted the flight deck during landing," Lt. Nicholas Lingo, spokesperson for the U.S. Seventh Fleet, said on Tuesday. The Navy is now reportedly racing to salvage the jet from the water.

Seven sailors were injured in the incident, including the pilot, who safely ejected. They are all reported to be in a stable condition.

On Thursday, an image that appears to show the fighter jet in the water made the rounds on Twitter, Reddit and Weibo—China's main social media platform. The photo shows what seems to be a F-35C jet with an empty cockpit and debris floating nearby.

The Japan-based Seventh Fleet told Newsweek in an emailed statement that it "can't confirm the authenticity of the photo."

Lt. Lingo said on Tuesday that the U.S. Navy was "making recovery operations arrangements for the F-35C aircraft."

The crash occurred on the second day of naval drills involving two Nimitz-class aircraft carriers—the Carl Vinson and USS Abraham Lincoln. They had been in the disputed South China Sea conducting operations since Sunday, the Pentagon said.

Media reports have speculated that the F-35C warplane could fall into the hands of China, which claims most of the South China Sea.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian has pushed back against this speculation. During his regular press conference on Thursday, he said Beijing had "no interest in their aircraft."

Zhao added: "This is not the first time the U.S. has had an accident in the South China Sea. The U.S. has yet to give a clear explanation about its nuclear submarine's collision with a seamount not long ago. Now one of their carrier-based aircraft has fallen into the South China Sea.

"We urge the country concerned to do things that are conducive to regional peace and stability, rather than flex its muscles in the area."

Lt. Langford told Newsweek that the U.S. Navy "continues to make recovery operation arrangements" for the F-35C.

Navy variant of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
A U.S. Navy F-35C, seen during a test flight on February 11, 2011. An F-35C warplane had a “landing mishap” in the South China Sea on January 24. U.S. Navy photo courtesy Lockheed Martin/Getty Images