L'équipage était à bord.
Un des témoins donne sa version en commentaire de la première vidéo:
I remember that day vividly. It happened on the USS Independence. I'm a former combat search and rescue swimmer that was attached to HS-14 Chargers (I was in Lightning 617). We were 1 of 2 helicopters providing search and rescue support during flight operations. There are always two helos airborne during flight ops. We rescued the RIO (Radar Intercept Officer) and the other helo providing backup SAR support rescued the pilot. It was the RIO that pull the ejection handle for both him and the pilot when he thought the aircraft was going in. The flight deck was very oily and greasy from several days/nights of heavy flight operations and the non skid wasn't very effective in that environment. Fortunately the aircraft nose gear got lodged in the catwalk. The safe ejection window was decreasing rapidly so the RIO chose to pull not knowing if the aircraft was going over. I talked to the RIO in the aircraft and he asked where the jet was and I pointed to the aircraft and he said, "oh s***". You can't tell from the Plat cam footage but it was a beautiful, sunny, cloudless day. Couldn't have been more perfect for a rescue. Both the Pilot and RIO survived with very minor injuries.