F-35 missing after pilot ejects, US military unable to find aircraft

Eglin US Air Force Base, Eglin, Verenigde Staten. 25 november 2013..Foto: Test vlucht van Amerikaanse F-35A "Lightning".

A US F-35 reportedly fell from US airspace onto US soil— and the US military can’t find it.

The USMC F-35 in question was flying out of Joint Base Charleston in South Carolina when it was reported lost on Sunday afternoon.

“We’re working with @MCASBeaufortSC to locate an F-35 that was involved in a mishap this afternoon,” the base wrote on Twitter/X. “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 F-35 was from Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT) 501 with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, according to public affairs specialist Jeremy Huggins.

The pilot, who is reported to be alive and was taken to the hospital, is stationed out of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

The Base noted that the plane, which can cost up to $80 million for an “B” variant, may have gone into a lake.

“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,” the tweet read.

Of all the branches in the Armed Forces, the US Marine Corps has frequently lead the way for Class A mishaps, which is usually categorized by $1 million or loss of life.

In 2020, a National Commission on Military Aviation Safety report blamed the majority of accidents across the Armed Forces as the result of “insufficient flying hours to keep aircrew proficient, inadequate personnel training, inconsistent funding for spare parts supply and risky maintenance practices.”

Just last month, three US Marines were killed during exercises in Australia when their MV-22 Osprey crashed.

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