It looks like the intriguing mystery about the missing F-35 may finally have been solved.
The plane went missing Sunday after the pilot had some sort of a “mishap” with it and ejected out of it to safety. The pilot is in stable condition at a local hospital. What the “mishap” was has not yet been explained. There also was a problem with the transponder, which contributed to the difficulty in finding the plane, plus it’s designed to be visually hard to find to begin with as a stealth plane, according to the Joint Base Charleston spokesperson.
But the plane had been missing since yesterday when the pilot ejected north of Charleston. Joint Base Charleston even put out a public request for people to phone them if they had any information about the unmanned missing jet.
The mystery raised all kinds of questions about what had happened to the plane and why they couldn’t find it, particularly if there was another jet accompanying it.
Then, Marine Commandant Eric Smith issued an order grounding all aviation units, telling them to stand down for two days until they met certain parameters. That raised more questions about whether or not there was some systemic issue that had affected the F-35 jet. They termed it a precautionary measure in light of three Class A aviation mishaps in the past six weeks, according to a statement from Smith.
Now, it looks like they may have located the plane because they’ve found a debris field about two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston in the Indiantown area of Williamsburg County.
BREAKING: A defense official tells @CBSnews that searchers have discovered a debris field two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston that may be the wreckage of the F-35 fighter jet that disappeared on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/L2TfacG1yv
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) September 18, 2023
Personnel from Joint Base Charleston and @MCASBeaufortSC, in close coordination with local authorities, have located a debris field in Williamsburg County. The debris was discovered two hours northeast of JB Charleston.
— Joint Base Charleston (@TeamCharleston) September 18, 2023
“Members of the community should avoid the area as the recovery team secures the debris field,” the statement reads. “The mishap is currently under investigation, and we are unable to provide additional details to preserve the integrity of the investigative 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 plane was an F-35B Lightning II jet from Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT) 501 with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.
There don’t appear to be any photos yet of the debris field or the plane.
Now the question is: What happened, and why did it take so long to find it? And is there a problem that has resulted in these “mishaps” in the past six weeks that needs to be resolved?
People had some fun with the situation.
Military Personnel Seen Wandering Forest Pressing Button On F-35 Key Fob https://t.co/ldY58GhEe0 pic.twitter.com/EDvV60tqiC
— The Babylon Bee (@TheBabylonBee) September 18, 2023