Authorities have asked for the public’s help in locating the fighter jet’s crash site after the pilot ejected to safety.
The US military says it has finally found the remains of a missing F-35 fighter jet, a day after asking for the public’s help in locating the wreckage of the elusive warplane after a pilot was ejected from the plane for unknown reasons.
The debris field from the F-35B Lightning II jet that went missing Sunday afternoon was located Monday in rural Williamsburg County, South Carolina, according to Joint Marine Corps Base Charleston.
“Personnel from Joint Base Charleston and @MCASBeaufortSC, in close coordination with local authorities, located a debris field in Williamsburg County. The debris was discovered two hours northeast of JB Charleston,” the base said on social media, while thanking local, county and state officials for their assistance in searching for the plane. of stealth combat gone.
The debris was located approximately two hours northeast of the maritime base and local residents were asked to stay away from the site.
“Community members should avoid the area while the recovery team secures the debris field. We are transferring incident command to the USMC (US Marine Corps) this evening as they begin the recovery process,” the base said.
Community members should avoid the area while the recovery team secures the debris field. We are handing over incident command to the USMC this evening as they begin the recovery process.
– Joint Base Charleston (@TeamCharleston) September 18, 2023
Authorities had been searching for the plane since the pilot, whose name was not released, parachuted to safety in a North Charleston neighborhood around 2 p.m. (6 p.m. GMT) on Sunday and the plane continued to fly in what some have called a “zombie state.” “.
The pilot was taken to a hospital, where he is in stable condition, the Marines said.
Military officials then appealed online for any help from the public in locating the plane, which cost about $80 million. The request sparked an avalanche of jokes and memes on social media from people in disbelief that the U.S. military could lose such an advanced warplane.
The US military is searching for a missing F-35B in South Carolina after the pilot ejected yesterday and the plane continued to fly. If you have seen an F-35 in the woods, please contact the U.S. Marines. pic.twitter.com/rpueqxuP0J
– Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) September 18, 2023
All Marine Corps air units were also ordered Monday to suspend operations for two days.
Gen. Eric Smith, acting commandant of the Marine Corps, ordered the drawdown during which commanders will reinforce safe flight policies, practices and procedures with their Marines.
The loss of the F-35 was the third event documented as a “Class A accident” in the past six weeks, according to a Marine Corps announcement. Such incidents involve damages reaching a cost of $2.5 million or more, when a Department of Defense aircraft is destroyed, or when a person dies or is permanently disabled.
No details were provided on the two previous incidents. But in August, three U.S. Marines were killed when a V-22B Osprey tilt-rotor plane crashed during a training exercise in Australia, and a Marine Corps pilot was killed when his fighter jet crashed near a San Diego base during a training flight.
What exactly happened that caused the loss of the F-35 is under investigation. A pilot of a second F-35 returned safely to Joint Base Charleston.
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.
According to manufacturer Lockheed Martin, one of the main advantages of the F-35 is its near impossibility of being tracked by radar, advanced sensors and other equipment.