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US still searching for F-35B lost after pilot ejected

F-35B in Japan
Photo: US Marine Corps

Search operations are underway for a US military jet following a mishap that led to the pilot’s ejection, with no definitive proof of a crash, according to military officials.

The incident unfolded on Sunday around 2 pm as two pilots were in flight; while one successfully landed their aircraft at Joint Base Charleston, the other pilot, flying an F-35B Lightning II, activated an unspecified automated flight system and subsequently ejected over North Charleston, as reported by officials.

The pilot has been located and is now receiving treatment at a local hospital in stable condition. According to officials, there is no apparent indication of a crash. Search operations are currently concentrated north of Joint Base Charleston, in the vicinity of Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, based on the aircraft’s last known location.

“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 public is asked to cooperate with military and civilian authorities as the recovery effort continues,” stated Joint Base Charleston in the official announcement.

An MCAS spokesperson has stated that the incident is currently under investigation, with authorities collecting data and evaluating the circumstances surrounding the mishap.