South Carolina – Authorities on Monday found the scattered remains of a Marine Corps F-35 stealth fighter jet that crashed in South Carolina after the pilot ejected from the aircraft and descended safely by parachute.
The remains were located in a rural area of Williamsburg County, according to Joint Base Charleston of the Marine Corps. The site is located about two hours northeast of the base, and authorities asked residents to avoid the area while a recovery team works at the scene.
Authorities had searched for the aircraft since the pilot, whose name has not been released, parachuted into a North Charleston neighborhood around 2 p.m. Sunday. He was taken to a hospital, where he remained in stable condition, said Marine Corps Maj. Melanie Salinas.
The Marine Corps announced Monday it was suspending operations for two days after the plane crashed, the third high-cost incident in recent weeks.
Gen. Eric Smith, acting commander of the Marine Corps, ordered a pause in authorities’ search for the FB-35B Lightning II aircraft near two lakes in South Carolina.
This is the third documented occurrence of a “Class A mishap” in the past six weeks, according to a Marine announcement. These types of incidents occur when damage is at least $2.5 million, a Department of Defense aircraft is destroyed, or someone is killed or disabled for life.
Commanders will use the pause to reinforce safe flight policies, practices and procedures with their Marines, according to Monday’s release.