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Missing F-35 Fighter Jet: Debris Field Found in South Carolina

Tuesday, September 19, 2023 • Tamil Comments
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In South Carolina, a debris field has been discovered during the search for an F-35 fighter jet that went missing following a "mishap" on Sunday, according to military officials who confirmed this on Monday night.

Officials have stated that the debris was located in Williamsburg County, approximately two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston. Command over the situation is now being transferred to the Marine Corps.

During the incident, it was reported that the pilot of the aircraft had "safely ejected."

On Sunday, a Marine Corps spokesperson released a statement, saying, "We are currently still gathering more information and assessing the situation. The mishap will be under investigation."

Due to the ongoing investigation, officials are unable to provide additional details at this time, in order to maintain the integrity of the process.

"We would like to thank all of our mission partners, as well as local, county, and state authorities, for their dedication and support throughout the search and as we transition to the recovery phase," the officials expressed their gratitude.

Earlier on Monday, Marine Corps acting commandant, Eric Smith, issued a two-day safety-focused stand-down for all aviation units, both domestically and internationally, to occur sometime this week. Smith emphasized his confidence in the aviation units but felt it was a "right and prudent" measure given recent incidents, including one in Australia.

The incident involving the missing fighter jet marks the third documented "Class-A mishap" in the past six weeks. Such events occur when damages exceed $2.5 million, a Department of Defense aircraft is destroyed, or there is a fatality or permanent disability.

The stand-down period will be utilized to reinforce safe flying policies, practices, and procedures with Marines, as commanders address safety concerns.

While details of the prior two incidents were not disclosed, one of them involved a V-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft crash in Australia in August, resulting in the loss of three U.S. Marines. Another incident led to the death of a Marine Corps pilot when his combat jet crashed near a San Diego base during a training flight.

The circumstances leading to the pilot's ejection from the aircraft on Sunday are under investigation.

Initially, the search focused on Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion due to the missing plane's location and trajectory. However, a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division helicopter joined the search once weather conditions improved in the area.

The Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, part of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing based in Beaufort near the South Carolina coast, operated the planes and pilots involved in this incident.

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