News Branch Marine Corps

Marine Corps searching for F-35 after pilot ejects in South Carolina

The pilot was unhurt but the fighter jet is missing.
Nicholas Slayton Avatar

The Marine Corps is currently searching for an F-35 in South Carolina after its pilot ejected from the plane earlier today.

Two fighter jets were flying a training mission out of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. One pilot landed at Joint Base Charleston, but the other, in an F-35B Lightning, did not. Joint Base Charleston posted on social media that the plane suffered an unspecified “mishap,” prompting the pilot to eject, just after 2 p.m. local time.

Local news outlet WLTX reported that the pilot put the plane on autopilot before bailing out of the jet. 

The military is now searching for the F-35B and as of press time does not know where it is. In an update to social media at 6:48 p.m. Eastern Time, Joint Base Charleston said that “based on the jet’s last-known position and in coordination with the FAA, we are focusing our attention north of JB Charleston, around Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion.”

Subscribe to Task & Purpose Today. Get the latest military news and culture in your inbox daily.

The pilot safely ejected from the fighter jet and safely landed on South Kenwood Drive in North Charleston. The Marine was taken to a hospital and is in stable condition. The pilot is based out of Marine Corps Air Station. The F-35 was with the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT) 501 with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.

“We are currently still gathering more information and assessing the situation. The mishap will be under investigation,” a Marine Corps spokesperson said in a statement to Task & Purpose.

Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort is approximately 70 miles southwest of Joint Base Charleston. The two bases are working together to locate the missing fighter jet, with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing taking the lead.

In March  2022 an F/A-18D Hornet fighter jet with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing crashed during a routine flight, with no fatalities. 

The unspecified mishap comes after a number of mishaps featuring Marine Corps aircraft in recent weeks. In August, an F/A-18D crashed near Miramar, California, killing the pilot. A few days later a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashed during an exercise in Australia, killing three on board. 

This is a developing story. 

The latest on Task & Purpose