Debris found in search for missing F-35 fighter jet in South Carolina; pilot safely ejected

AP logo
Monday, September 18, 2023 10:28PM
ABC7 Bay Area 24/7 live stream
EMBED <>More Videos

ABC7 Bay Area 24/7 live stream

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Authorities searching near two South Carolina lakes on Monday for a military jet that apparently crashed after the pilot safely ejected over the weekend say that they have found a debris field.

Officials say the debris was discovered two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston.

The pilot, whose name hasn't been released, parachuted to safety into a North Charleston neighborhood at around 2 p.m. Sunday. He was taken to a hospital, where he was in stable condition, Marines Maj. Melanie Salinas said Sunday.

Cpl. Christian Cortez, a Marine with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, said there was a mishap involving an F-35B Lightning II jet and that the search was ongoing Monday. Exactly what happened was under investigation, he said.

The search was focused on Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, said Senior Master Sgt. Heather Stanton at Joint Base Charleston. Both lakes are north of North Charleston.

A South Carolina Law Enforcement Division helicopter joined the search after some bad weather cleared in the area, Stanton said. Military officials appealed in online posts Sunday for any help from the public in locating the aircraft.

The pilot of a second F-35 returned safely to Joint Base Charleston, Salinas said.

The planes and pilots were with the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing based in Beaufort, near the South Carolina coast.