A pilot had to eject from a British F35 jet just before it crashed into the Mediterranean, after it had taken off from UK's flagship aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.

According to the PA News Agency this occurred at approximately 10am in UK time in international waters, with no other vessels or aircraft being involved.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: "A British F35 pilot from HMS Queen Elizabeth ejected during routine flying operations in the Mediterranean this morning.

"The pilot has been safely returned to the ship and an investigation has begun, so it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

The RAF F35 jet is thought to be in the sea and has not yet been recovered.

A comprehensive military air investigation will be conducted urgently.

Jets from the vessel previously participated in strikes against the remnants of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The 65,000-tonne Royal Navy flagship is returning to the UK from its maiden deployment, which included exercises with the Indian military.

It was part of the carrier strike group’s deployment to the Indo-Pacific amid heightened tensions with China in the region.