In a perplexing turn of events, the U.S. Air Force is seeking assistance from the public in locating a missing F-35 fighter jet, which inexplicably vanished from radar over South Carolina on a Sunday afternoon. The incident unfolded as the pilot executed a safe ejection, parachuting into a residential neighborhood, where he landed in a backyard. Fortunately, the pilot was swiftly transported to a local hospital and is reported to be in stable condition. However, the whereabouts of the high-tech aircraft remain shrouded in mystery.
The Joint Base Charleston issued a plea for help via their Twitter account, reaching out to concerned citizens and aviation enthusiasts alike. The official statement read, “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… 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.”
A more comprehensive statement was posted on Facebook, revealing further details about the incident. It explained, “Personnel from Joint Base Charleston and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort (MCAS Beaufort SC) are responding to a mishap involving an F-35B Lightning II jet from Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT) 501 with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. The pilot ejected safely and was transferred to a local medical center in stable condition. Emergency response teams are still trying to locate the F-35. The public is asked to cooperate with military and civilian authorities as the effort continues. 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 incident also caught the attention of aviation enthusiasts at AVGeekery.com, who reported the unfolding situation. According to their report, the Marine Corps F-35B pilot executed a safe ejection mere moments before the aircraft vanished from radar. Radio communications indicated that the pilot ejected at a relatively low altitude, just a few thousand feet above the ground. The last radar contact placed the aircraft a few miles northeast of Lake Moultrie. Remarkably, the pilot’s parachute descent led him to a residential neighborhood on South Kenwood Drive in North Charleston.
Local WCBD-TV further highlighted the unusual nature of the incident, noting that the pilot was found on South Kenwood Drive after his safe ejection. Joint Base Charleston confirmed that the pilot had been transported to a nearby medical facility and was in stable condition. Remarkably, his wingman in another aircraft was able to safely land at Joint Base Charleston.
As the search for the missing F-35 intensifies, the aircraft’s potential location remains a matter of intrigue. It could be submerged in one of the nearby lakes, Moultrie or Marion, lost somewhere in the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, or perhaps, it has ventured into the Twilight Zone of the unknown. The mystery surrounding this incident continues to deepen. If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of the missing F-35, please contact the Base Defense Operations Center at 843-963-3600.