Debris from Crashed F-35 Stealth Fighter Located in South Carolina; Pilot Safely Ejected

by Chloe Baker
F-35 fighter jet crash

Authorities have discovered a field of wreckage from a Marine Corps F-35 stealth fighter jet that went down in South Carolina, subsequent to the pilot’s successful ejection and safe landing via parachute.

The area containing the debris is situated in the rural expanse of Williamsburg County, as stated by the Marine Corps’ Joint Base Charleston. The site is approximately a two-hour drive northeast from the base. Local inhabitants have been advised to steer clear of the vicinity as a recovery operation is in progress.

Search teams had been combing the area for the aircraft ever since the pilot, whose identity remains undisclosed, safely descended into a North Charleston community around 2 p.m. on Sunday. Following the incident, the pilot was admitted to a medical facility where his condition was reported as stable by Marines Major Melanie Salinas.

In light of the recent crash, Marine Corps operations have been suspended for a 48-hour period. This marks the third significant aviation accident in a span of recent weeks.

Ongoing Search for Missing Marine Corps Stealth Fighter in South Carolina After Pilot’s Safe Ejection

Acting Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Eric Smith, has mandated the operational pause as investigators concentrate their efforts in the proximity of two South Carolina lakes, Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, to locate the missing FB-35B Lightning II aircraft.

This incident is categorized as the third “Class-A mishap” within the last six weeks, as specified in a Marine Corps statement. Such designations are made when damages exceed $2.5 million, a Department of Defense aircraft is completely lost, or there are fatalities or permanent disabilities.

During the stand-down period, commanding officers will be rigorously reviewing and emphasizing safe aviation procedures and practices with their subordinates, as per the release issued on Monday.

While the recent announcement did not elaborate on prior mishaps, it is noteworthy that in August, a V-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft crashed during a training exercise in Australia, leading to the deaths of three U.S. Marines. Additionally, a Marine Corps pilot lost his life in a combat jet accident near a San Diego base, also during a training session.

Corporal Christian Cortez, a Marine affiliated with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, conveyed that the investigation into the South Carolina fighter jet’s crash was ongoing as of Monday.

Senior Master Sgt. Heather Stanton, based at Joint Base Charleston, mentioned that the search operation was concentrated on Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, both situated north of North Charleston. A helicopter from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division joined the search once inclement weather in the region had subsided, according to Stanton. Through online platforms, military officials have sought assistance from the public in locating the missing aircraft.

Major Melanie Salinas confirmed that the pilot of a second F-35 successfully returned to Joint Base Charleston without incident.

Both the aircraft and pilots are part of the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, which operates under the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and is stationed in Beaufort, near the South Carolina coastline.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about F-35 fighter jet crash

What type of aircraft was involved in the crash?

The aircraft involved in the crash was a Marine Corps F-35 stealth fighter jet.

Where did the crash occur?

The crash occurred in rural Williamsburg County, South Carolina. The debris field is approximately two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston.

What is the condition of the pilot?

The pilot successfully ejected from the aircraft and parachuted into a North Charleston neighborhood. He was taken to a hospital and is in stable condition.

Has the Marine Corps taken any actions following the crash?

Yes, the Marine Corps has announced a 48-hour pause in operations. This is the third significant aviation accident in recent weeks, prompting a review of safe flying practices.

Who is leading the investigation?

The investigation is being led by authorities associated with the Marine Corps and Joint Base Charleston.

What is a “Class-A mishap”?

A Class-A mishap is a designation made when damages exceed $2.5 million, a Department of Defense aircraft is completely lost, or there are fatalities or permanent disabilities.

Are there any prior incidents of similar nature?

Yes, this incident marks the third Class-A mishap within the last six weeks. While the announcement did not provide details on the two previous incidents, it was noted that three U.S. Marines were killed in an Osprey crash in Australia in August, and another Marine Corps pilot was killed in a crash near a San Diego base during a training flight.

Are civilians being advised to take any precautions?

Residents in the vicinity of rural Williamsburg County have been advised to avoid the area where the debris field was located while recovery operations are ongoing.

Is the public being asked to assist in any way?

Yes, military officials have made online posts appealing for any assistance from the public in locating the missing aircraft.

What other entities are involved in the search operation?

A helicopter from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has joined the search after bad weather cleared in the area. The search is also focused on Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion.

More about F-35 fighter jet crash

  • Marine Corps Official Announcement
  • Joint Base Charleston Statement
  • Department of Defense Class-A Mishap Guidelines
  • Previous Aviation Incidents involving U.S. Marine Corps
  • Safety Procedures in Military Aviation
  • South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Update
  • News Report on Osprey Crash in Australia
  • Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 Information
  • Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion Search Operations Update

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JohnDoe84 September 19, 2023 - 2:04 am

Woah, another F-35 crash? These planes are like billions of dollars each! what’s goin on??

KevinTech September 19, 2023 - 3:35 am

Pilot’s safe, thank God. But how many more incidents before they figure out what’s wrong? Money isn’t infinite, you know.

LocalMom September 19, 2023 - 9:41 am

i live near Williamsburg County. Can’t believe this happened so close. they’re asking us to avoid the area – recovery’s gonna take some time, I guess.

ConcernedCitizen September 19, 2023 - 10:56 am

Public help for locating the aircraft? sounds desperate. Hope they find what they’re looking for and fix whatever’s causing these mishaps.

Sally_M September 19, 2023 - 11:24 am

This is the third Class-A mishap in just six weeks. Something’s seriously off here. Are pilots getting enough training?

MilExpert2010 September 19, 2023 - 10:17 pm

Pausing operations for 48 hours is a wise move, gives time to reassess safety protocols. Can’t afford more losses, human or material.


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