Monday September 18, 2023 10:19 p.m.
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC — Authorities Monday searching near two South Carolina lakes for a military plane that apparently crashed after the pilot ejected safely over the weekend said they found a debris field.
Officials say the debris was discovered two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston.
The pilot, whose name has not been released, was parachuted to safety in a North Charleston neighborhood around 2 p.m. Sunday. He was taken to a hospital, where he is in stable condition, Marine Maj. Melanie Salinas said Sunday.
Cpl. Christian Cortez, a Marine with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, said there was an accident involving an F-35B Lightning II jet and the search continued Monday. Exactly what happened is under investigation, he said.
The search focused on Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, said Senior Master Sgt. Heather Stanton at Joint Base Charleston. Both lakes are north of North Charleston.
A helicopter from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division joined the search after bad weather cleared in the area, Stanton said. Military officials launched an online appeal Sunday for any help from the public in locating the plane.
The pilot of a second F-35 returned safely to Joint Base Charleston, Salinas said.
The planes and pilots were part of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing based in Beaufort, near the South Carolina coast.
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