Crews are working to recover debris from a missing F-35 fighter jet in South Carolina over the weekend as an investigation is underway into the ‘crash’ that forced its pilot to eject , according to the Marine Corps and a defense official. knowledge of research.
The plane’s debris field – about two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston – was discovered Monday after a multi-agency search from the ground and air for the F-35B Lightning II jet, described as “the deadliest, most survivable and most connected combat aircraft.” in the world” from Lockheed Martin.
The fighter jet was missing Sunday after the pilot ejected and was taken to a local medical facility in stable condition, Joint Base Charleston said.
Before the debris field was discovered, the military made an unusual appeal to the public for help finding the F-35 plane, saying its last known location was near Lake Moultrie and the Lake Marion, northwest of the city of Charleston.
Community members are now being asked to stay away from the remains of the fighter jet while recovery teams work to secure the debris field in Williamsburg County.
“We are handing over incident command to the USMC this evening, as they begin the recovery process,” Joint Base Charleston said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
It is unclear what exactly happened to force the pilot to eject.
“The incident is currently under investigation and we are unable to provide additional details to preserve the integrity of the investigative process,” the Marines said in a statement released Monday.
This is not the first incident involving military aircraft in recent weeks.
The Marine Corps on Monday ordered a two-day pause in air operations, citing three “Class A aviation incidents” in the past six weeks.
“This suspension is intended to ensure that the service maintains operational standardization of combat-ready aircraft with well-prepared pilots and crews,” the Marine Corps said in a press release.
Although the Marine Corps statement did not provide details on the other two accidents, two air incidents occurred in August.
A pilot was killed Aug. 24 when a Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet crashed near San Diego. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.
Days later, a Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey crashed during military exercises in Australia, killing three U.S. Marines and leaving five others in serious condition. This accident is also under investigation.
Although there is no indication of any connection between the accidents, all incidents are classified as Class A accidents by the Marine Corps, defined as an incident resulting in one fatality or more than 2.5 million dollars in property damage.