Search crews find debris field from missing F-35 in South Carolina, officials say
Stars and Stripes September 18, 2023
WASHINGTON – Authorities have found the remains of an F-35 fighter jet that went down in South Carolina, officials said Monday.
The F-35B Lightning II crashed Sunday afternoon after the Marine Corps pilot encountered a problem while in flight and ejected, base officials said. Military crews and local law enforcement officers spent parts of Sunday and Monday looking for the fighter jet. Joint Base Charleston announced Monday that it had located the debris field.
“The debris was discovered two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston,” said the base, which is in North Charleston not far from the Atlantic coast. “Members of the community should avoid the area as the recovery team secures the debris field.”
Military officials said the aircraft was from the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C. Earlier Monday, officials said Marines from the base and personnel from Joint Base Charleston were searching two lakes in North Charleston for the fifth-generation stealth fighter jet, which is flown by the Marines, Navy and Air Force. The F-35B, the Marine Corps’ variant, can land vertically.
The pilot, who is assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, was in the middle of a training flight over North Charleston on Sunday when the unspecified problem occurred. The pilot was taken to a hospital and was listed in stable condition. Charleston is about 70 miles northeast of MCAS Beaufort.
“The mishap is currently under investigation, and we are unable to provide additional details to preserve the integrity of the investigative process,” base officials said.