A US Navy crewman is being hospitalized for a “serious, non life-threatening injury” after he was hit by a plane in tow on the USS Carl Vinson flight deck. The incident follows a year plagued with systemic problems in the naval service.
An emergency helicopter transported the unidentified sailor Friday evening, from the San Diego-based aircraft carrier to Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego, California, the Los Angeles Times reported.
US Navy spokesman Steve Fiebing did not immediately have additional details on the incident, but stated it is under investigation, the New York Times reported.
The event caused the Carl Vinson to suspend all flight operations on Friday, and also delayed many operations on the ship that were scheduled for Saturday.
The Carl Vinson was taking part in sustainment training exercises, called SUSTEX, off the coast of Southern California at the time of the incident, Sputnik reported.
SUSTEX is training which allows carrier strike groups to evaluate their readiness for combat in expectation of a combat assignment.
Before this incident, the US Navy started investigating systemic problems in the service, which are believed to be the contributing factors in two high-profile fatal collisions that took place earlier this year.
Investigators looking into the previous problems have found that US sailors have been overworked, taking part in shifts that go on for some 15 hours per day. The sailors’ lack of rest has led to negligence in the area of safety regulations, leading to excessive reliance on electronic systems, Sputnik reported.
The Navy addressed the systemic issues by changing its work timetable in favor of much shorter shifts. However, at the same time, the changes have increased the workload for sailors. Crew members are now required to learn exercises and training that focus on labor-intensive basics, such as the use of old-school compasses and pencil navigation, according to Sputnik.
In August, the USS John S. McCaincollided with a merchant vessel near Singapore, killing 10 sailors and injuring five.
Previous to the McCain incident, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a cargo ship near Yokosuka in June. This event led to the deaths of seven sailors.
Following the tragic events, command staff of both ships were relieved of their posts.