Debris from missing F-35 jet found, according to Joint Base Charleston

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 5:43 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 18, 2023 at 7:00 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT, Sc. (WTOC) - Debris from the missing F-35 military jet has been found, according to Joint Base Charleston.

A debris field has been located in Williamsburg County, South Carolina, two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston.

In statement from Joint Base Charleston says, “teams from Joint Base Charleston, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing out of MCAS Cherry Point, Navy Region Southeast, the FAA, the Civil Air Patrol, as well as local, county, and state law enforcement across South Carolina have been working together to locate the U.S. Marine Corps F-35B.”

Joint Base Charleston asks community members to avoid the area as the debris field is secured. They are also transferring command to the USMC as the recovery process begins.

The acting commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Eric M. Smith, has also directed all Marine Corps aviation unites to stand down in operations for the next two days after three Class-A aviation mishaps over the last six weeks.

The mishap is under investigation, and Joint Base Charleston says they are “unable to provide additional details to preserve the integrity of the investigative process.”

The F-35 military jet had been missing in South Carolina since Sunday afternoon. The pilot ejected safely but the plane is yet to be found.

The F-35 is part of the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron based in Beaufort.

WTOC confirmed Monday morning that the search radius for this jet had expanded all the way up to Florence, South Carolina.

All of this leaving Congresswoman Nancy Mace frustrated and questioning the investment made into these planes.

“This $80 million question is where is it and if the beacon or transponder device within an $80 million dollar brand new jet doesn’t work, what else doesn’t work in it? How much many has been invested into this program to see a jet like this fail for whatever reason?” said Rep. Mace.

Per usual, there have been planes flying all around Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Monday, but none had been able to find the missing F-35 jet.