The U.S. military is searching for an F-35 fighter jet that went missing after its pilot ejected near North Charleston, but there is no sign that the plane crashed, authorities said. .
An “accident” involving two Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II fighter jets occurred around 2 p.m. Sunday, with one pilot ejecting after the pilots turned on an unspecified autopilot system. Officials announced that they were forced to do so. report. But officials at Joint Base Charleston said they were unable to locate the nearly $80 million state-of-the-art fighter jet and asked the public to provide information that could help recovery teams locate the errant fighter jet. according to to the statement.
“Emergency response teams are still attempting to locate the F-35. The public is asked to cooperate with military and civilian authorities as efforts continue,” Joint Base Charleston said in a statement Sunday night. (Related: Marine Corps changes safety policy in one month after series of fatal accidents)
The first pilot successfully landed the jet at Joint Base Charleston. The ejected pilot was located and taken to an area hospital and was listed in stable condition as of the latest update, the base said in a statement.
“The pilot ejected from the plane safely. We are still gathering additional information and evaluating the situation. This accident remains under investigation,” a Marine Corps Headquarters spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation Monday morning.
we are cooperating @MCASBeaufortSC This afternoon to find an F-35 involved in an accident. The pilot ejected safely. If you have any information that could help the recovery team locate his F-35, please call the Base Defense Operations Center at 843-963-3600.
— Joint Base Charleston (@TeamCharleston) September 17, 2023
Based on the plane’s last known location, the military focused its search efforts on Joint Base Charleston near Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, the statement said.
A South Carolina Law Enforcement Division helicopter took part in recovery efforts after the severe weather cleared, the Associated Press reported. report, quoting Master Sgt. Heather Stanton of Joint Base Charleston.
The aircraft that belonged to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT) 501, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wingare related to both Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina and nearby Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point Havelock, North Carolina.
A Cherry Point spokesperson told News 19 that an intelligence gathering operation is underway and the incident will be investigated.
Joint Base Charleston did not immediately respond to DCNF’s request for comment.
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