The search operation began after the pilot, whose identity is being withheld, managed to eject successfully and land in North Charleston.

The armed forces located the impact site of an F-35 fighter jet belonging to the Marine Corps after it disappeared in South Carolina, where the pilot managed to eject in time.

Details of the discovery and immediate actions

The debris field was identified in rural Williamsburg County, about two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston. Authorities urged locals to stay away from the site to facilitate recovery operations.

The search operation began after the pilot, whose identity is being withheld, managed to eject successfully and land in North Charleston. He was subsequently hospitalized and is reported to be in stable condition.

Remains of an F-35 found in South Carolina
F-35B

Due to this event, the Marine Corps has temporarily suspended its air operations, making this the third significant accident in a short period.

Recent history of air incidents

General Eric Smith, the current leader of the Marine Corps, declared a pause in operations while the whereabouts of the FB-35B Lightning II are investigated. This event is classified as a “class A mishap,” meaning it involves damage exceeding $2.5 million, the loss of military aircraft, or serious injuries.

During this period of inactivity, a comprehensive review of flight protocols and practices will be carried out to ensure air safety.

Additionally, it is recalled that there were two other recent incidents: a V-22B Osprey crashed in Australia, causing the loss of three marines, and another pilot lost his life near San Diego in similar circumstances.

Ongoing investigations and civil collaboration

Remains of an F-35 found in South CarolinaU.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning IIs assigned to Medium Aircraft Squadron 164 (Reinforced), 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, land on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8). (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Patrick Crosley)

Corporal Christian Cortez of the 2nd Marine Air Wing confirmed that investigations are continuing. Early speculation focuses on the search for lakes Moultrie and Marion, located north of North Charleston.

In addition, the public’s collaboration has been requested through digital platforms to locate the aircraft. A helicopter belonging to South Carolina authorities joined the search efforts once weather conditions improved.

It is relevant to mention that another F-35 operating on the same mission returned to Joint Base Charleston without incident.

Additional information about the affected drive

The aircraft and pilots involved in the incident are from Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, which operates under the command of the 2nd Marine Air Wing. Its main base is located in Beaufort, near the coast of South Carolina.