Military Officials Locate Debris From Missing F-35

(TargetDailyNews.com) – Officials on Monday confirmed that they found the debris field for the F-35 stealth fighter jet that disappeared over South Carolina on Sunday, CNN reported.

According to the US Marine Corps, an investigation has been launched into the incident that forced the pilot of the F-35 to eject.

The pilot ejected from the aircraft near Charleston on Sunday. He landed in the backyard of a Charleston home and was taken to a nearby medical center in stable condition, according to Joint Base Charleston.

The unnamed pilot was discharged on Monday afternoon.

When the pilot ejected, the F-35 was kept on autopilot, according to Jeremy Huggins a spokesman for the base. Officials believed that the aircraft could remain airborne for some time before it crashed. However, two defense officials told NBC News that the F-35 does not have the range to fly for long periods without refueling.

As the search continued, all Marine Corps aircraft both inside and outside the U.S. were grounded. The Pentagon said the suspension of flights would give units time to “discuss aviation safety matters and best practices.”

The debris field was discovered on Monday about 2 hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston after a multi-agency search both from the air and ground.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Joint Base Charleston said the incident is under investigation. However, to preserve the integrity of the investigation, officials are “unable to provide additional details,” the post said.

Residents in Williamsburg County where the jet went down were instructed to avoid the debris field site as recovery teams worked to secure the area.

The F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter jet costs around $80 million.

Lockheed Martin’s website describes the F-35 series as the “most advanced” stealth fighter jet in the world.

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