Missing $80 Million Military Jet Finally Found


Officials have been working hard to locate a missing F-35 stealth fighter jet that took off from Joint Base Charleston in South Carolina on Sept. 17. After a lengthy search that spanned several hundred miles, a debris field believed to be associated with the jet has been found. 

It all started after a “mishap involving an F-35B Lightning II jet from Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT) 501 with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing” over the weekend, according to a Facebook post from the military base. The pilot was able to safely eject himself from the aircraft and was taken to a local medical center in stable condition, but the jet continued flying on its own using autopilot. 

Around 24 hours after the incident, military officials found debris seemingly from the plane in Indiantown, Williamsburg County, about two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston. Recovery efforts began immediately and continued through the night. 

Related: Social Media Roasts Government for Losing $80 Million Jet

“Members of the community should avoid the area as the recovery team secures the debris field,” a statement from the base read, per WCBD. “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.”

F-35 debris field discovered in Williamsburg County, about two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston. pic.twitter.com/5HScQikRJc

— Breaking Aviation News & Videos (@aviationbrk) September 19, 2023

It’s the third incident in recent weeks to be classified as a “Class-A Mishap,” according to The Associated Press. These events involve when damages total $2.5 million or more, a Department of Defense aircraft is destroyed, or someone dies or is permanently disabled from the accident. In August, three U.S. Marines were killed in an aircraft crash during a training exercise in Australia, and a Marine Corps pilot died when his combat jet crashed near a base in San Diego during a training flight. 

As for what led to the most recent crash, the military is remaining tight-lipped as the investigation continues. 

You Might Also Like