The search for a missing Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II continued Monday afternoon, one day after a pilot ejected from the aircraft during a mishap near Charleston, South Carolina.
The pilot of the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort-based fighter jet ejected safely over North Charleston on Sunday afternoon while flying with another F-35. The pilot was taken to a local hospital, and the second F-35 landed at Joint Base Charleston, The Island News reported.
“How in the hell do you lose an F-35?” Representative Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), who serves the lowcountry of the state, said in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter. By Monday afternoon, Mace had few answers to report for state residents. “No one knows if the F-35 is in the air or under the water,” she said.
“Teams continue to search for the U.S. Marine Corps F-35B, using ground and air assets,” Joint Base Chaleston confirmed Monday. Military officials said numerous military and civilian agencies had joined to look for the F-35, including Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing out of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, the U.S. Navy, the FAA, the Civil Air Patrol, as well as local, county, and state law enforcement.
On Sunday, officials at JB Charleston said “based on the jet’s last-known position and in coordination with the FAA we are focusing our attention north of [Joint Base] Charleston, around Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion.”
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.
— Joint Base Charleston (@TeamCharleston) September 17, 2023
This is a developing story and will be updated when more information becomes available.