A US Marine Corps Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter disappeared on Sunday after the pilot ejected in the Charleston region, South Carolina.
The aircraft belongs to the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 (VMFAT-501), part of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, based at Joint Base Charleston, which posted a message on the X network (formerly Twitter) asking the public for information on any leads. of the aircraft’s whereabouts.
We’re working with @MCASBeaufortSC to locate an F-35 that was involved in a mishap this afternoon. The pilot ejected safely. If you have any information that may help our recovery teams locate the F-35, please call the Base Defense Operations Center at 843-963-3600.
— Joint Base Charleston (@TeamCharleston) September 17, 2023
According to the Marines, the last known position of the F-35B fighter jet is around lakes Moultrie and Marion, which are north of the military base.
One hypothesis raised by the US media is that the aircraft continued in flight after ejection.
The F-35B is the vertical or short takeoff and landing variant (acronym V/STOL) and operated by the US Marines, the United Kingdom (Air Force and Navy) and Italy.
The fighter has a vertical takeoff and landing system that consists of an engine with vectorable thrust in addition to a support fan behind the pilot’s cockpit.