Is this video showing a British F-35 fighter jet crashing off an aircraft carrier authentic?

By December 2, 2021 Transport

We came across this post on Twitter:

The video embedded in the tweet appears to have been captured using a mobile phone from surveillance footage that was being played back on a computer, explaining the low resolution of the footage. In the video, a fighter jet is shown failing to accelerate off a ramp on an aircraft carrier, immediately crashing into the sea. For context, a British F-35 fighter jet was reported to have crashed into the Mediterranean Sea earlier last month (November 2021) while attempting to take off from an aircraft carrier. The video in the tweet reportedly shows leaked security footage depicting the incident in question.

According to the BBC, the Guardian, and the UK Defence Journal, an investigation is currently underway on the cause of the crash. Additionally, the Guardian reports that “The crash will be investigated by the Defence Accident Investigation Branch, which usually takes several weeks before producing an initial report. A final report typically takes about a year to complete”.

While the actual incident of a British F-35 fighter crashing into the sea has been verified then by numerous sources including the British Ministry of Defence, the authenticity of the video remains uncertain.

Is the video trustworthy?

A separate article from the BBC examines the video, raising questions as to the origin of the video, how it came to be leaked, and if the video is in fact authentic. According to the article, British authorities are conducting three main investigations: what caused the fighter jet to crash, if the footage from the video is authentic, as well as how the sensitive information contained in the video came to be released online.

Additionally, a statement from the Ministry of Defence is quoted in the article, where they state that it is too soon to comment on the footage while efforts are still ongoing to recover the aircraft. An article from The Independent discussing the video also queries the authenticity of the video, stating that they have not been able to verify the video yet.

To conclude, with the available evidence, it is too soon to determine the authenticity of the reported video along with its origin.

Pending updates from the British Ministry of Defence on the footage, while it is true that a British F-35 fighter jet did crash while attempting to take off from an aircraft carrier, it is unproven that a video purporting to show the incident is in fact authentic.

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