A Marine F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter jet has gone missing near South Carolina, according to a post by Joint Base Charleston on Sunday.
“We’re working with @MCASBeaufortSC to locate an F-35 that was involved in a mishap this afternoon. The pilot ejected safely. If you have any information that may help our recovery teams locate the F-35, please call the Base Defense Operations Center at 843-963-3600,” the base posted on X.
“Based on the jet’s last-known position and in coordination with the FAA, we are focusing our attention north of JB Charleston, around Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion,” it added.
By Monday morning, there was no update as to the plane’s location.
A local report by WLTX said two F-35B Lightning II jets were flying around 2 p.m. Sunday when one of the pilots landed without incident, but the other “enabled an unspecified automated flight system and ejected over North Charleston.”
According to a post by Joint Base Charleston on Facebook, the pilot ejected after a “mishap.”
The pilot was found and taken to a hospital for treatment, and is in stable condition, according to the Facebook post. “Emergency response teams are still trying to locate the F-35,” the post said.
Jeremy Huggins, a spokesman at Joint Base Charleston, told the Washington Post the jet’s transponder, which usually helps locate the aircraft, was not working “for some reason that we haven’t yet determined. … . So that’s why we put out the public request for help.”
A Headquarters Marine Corps spokesperson told Breitbart News on Monday, “We are currently still gathering more information and assessing the situation. The mishap will be under investigation.”
The mishap involved a F-35B Lightning II jet from Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT) 501 with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, according to the Marine Corps.
“The public is asked to cooperate with military and civilian authorities as the effort continues,” the post said. “If you have any information that would assist the recovery teams, please call the JB Charleston Base Defense Operations Center at 843-963-3600,” the Facebook post said.
There has been a spate of accidents involving Marine Corps aircraft, according to Task & Purpose.
In August, an F/A-18D crashed near Miramar, California, killing the pilot, and a few days later a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashed during an exercise in Australia, killing three on board, according to the outlet.
According to a recent Government Accountability Office study, the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program is the Department of Defense’s most expensive weapon system program, estimated to cost nearly $1.7 trillion over its lifetime.