The US military has asked for the public’s help in locating a fighter jet after it lost track of somewhere over South Carolina when the pilot ejected.
A Marine Corps pilot escaped safely from an F-35B Lightning II fighter jet over North Charleston on Sunday afternoon after a “mishap,” military officials said, and the search for his missing aircraft is focused on two lakes north of North Charleston.
The pilot parachuted into North Charleston about 2 p.m. and was taken to a local hospital, where he was in stable condition, Maj. Melanie Salinas said. The pilot’s name was not disclosed.
Based on the missing aircraft’s location and flight path, the search for the F-35 Lightning II focused on Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, said Master Sergeant Heather Stanton of Joint Base Charleston. Both lakes are north of North Charleston.
Local Congresswoman Nancy Mace said, “How the hell do you lose an F-35? Why is there no tracking device and we’re asking the public to find a jet and turn it in?”
A South Carolina Law Enforcement Division helicopter joined the search for the F-35 after bad weather became clear in the area, Stanton said.
Authorities are still investigating why the pilot ejected, officials said.
Another pilot from a second F-35 returned safely to Joint Base Charleston, Salinas said.
The aircraft and pilots came from the Marine Corps’ Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, based in Beaufort, not far from South Carolina’s Atlantic coast.