A debris field has been located in South Carolina amid the ongoing search for a missing F-35B fighter jet, officials in Charleston confirmed.
The Joint Base in Charleston announced on Monday that their teams have identified a debris field in Williamsburg County, roughly two hours northeast of the joint base.
While base officials have not confirmed if the debris is from the missing jet, they added in a subsequent post that teams have been diligently working to locate the U.S. Marine Corp fighter jet and are now transitioning to a recovery phase.
Debris Field Discovered in South Carolina Amid F-35 Search
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
“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 base shared in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Base officials are urging community members to steer clear of the area as recovery teams work to secure the site.
The advanced $80 million jet vanished after its pilot “safety ejected” for unknown reasons over North Charleston. The pilot was subsequently transported to a local hospital and is currently in stable condition. The incident remains under investigation, according to base officials.
Both local authorities and the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina, are assisting with the recovery efforts.
Earlier on Monday, the Marine Corps issued a service-wide stand-down order for all aviation units, both domestically and abroad.
In a service-wide email, the Marine Corps stated the stand-down encompasses discussions led by aviation commanders “focusing on the fundamentals of safe flight operations, ground safety, maintenance and flight procedures, and maintaining combat readiness.”
With information from The Hill