Lost F-35 Wreckage Found, Pilot Safely Recovered Near Charleston

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On Monday, wreckage was discovered, confirming the loss of an F-35 fighter jet that had disappeared the previous day near Charleston, South Carolina. The jet’s pilot had ejected safely before the incident, according to statements from the Marine Corps and an unnamed defense official informed about the disappearance.

This debris was found approximately two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston. The base had been at the helm of the search but has now transferred incident command to the USMC, marking the commencement of the recovery process.

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The local community was advised to steer clear of the area, to allow the recovery team to secure the debris field and begin their operations. The pilot had managed to eject safely after a trouble with the jet on the preceding Sunday and was in stable condition following treatment at a nearby medical facility, as stated by Joint Base Charleston.

There is an ongoing investigation for the incident. The USMC declared that any further disclosures were barred to ensure the integrity of this investigative process.

Prior to the incident, the last known whereabouts of the aircraft were close to Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, two expansive water bodies lying northwest of Charleston city. Public assistance had been requested by Joint Base Charleston in locating the aircraft. The jet in question was part of the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, a body concentrated on meeting annual pilot training benchmarks.

In the backdrop of three “Class-A aviation mishaps” in the recent six weeks, the Marine Corps announced a suspension on flight operations. This break, called for by the Acting Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Eric Smith, is expected to last two days. In this duration, the Marines’ aviation units will pay special attention to reviewing safety measures for flight operations, on-ground safety, maintenance and flight procedures, and maintaining combat readiness.

Looking back at the recent series of mishaps, a Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet combat jet crashed in proximity to San Diego on August 24. The crash was fatal for the pilot, and the cause is still being determined. Shortly after, a Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey came down during a military exercise in Australia, resulting in the loss of three US Marines’ lives and leaving five others critically injured. It is important to note that there is no perceived connection between these crashes, although all of them have been categorized as “Class-A mishaps”.

With each incident causing fatalities or leading to property damage in excess of $2.5 million, this series of severe crashes instigated the temporary halt in Marine aviation operations. The Marine Corps stated that this break aims to devote time and efforts in reinforcing the aviation community’s established policies, practices, and procedures to ensure public safety and the safeguarding of Marines and sailors.