Published On: Mon, Sep 18th, 2023
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Missing F-35 jet search mapped as authorities hunt for £80m aircraft | US | News

A highly advanced £80m fighter jet is currently missing in after a pilot had to eject for reasons yet unknown, leaving his F-35, equipped with stealth capabilities, flying in an inoperative state.

The incident took place over North Charleston at approximately 2pm on Sunday, with two jets, each valued at around £80 million, flying alongside each other.

The pilot executed an ejection and safely parachuted into a residential area.

According to reports, the pilot, who has not yet been named, was subsequently transported to a local hospital, where he is reported to be in stable condition.

Based on the plane’s location and trajectory, authorities have assessed that it could be located in the areas around Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, said Senior Master Sgt. Heather Stanton at Joint Base Charleston.

The man-made Lake Moultrie is 75 feet deep at its deepest and 14 miles wide at its widest.

However, officials have said that there has been no evidence the aircraft actually crashed, adding to the mystery.

The Lightning fighter jet has a range of around 1,200 miles but it is unclear how much fuel it had in the tank when it went missing over the weekend.

Jeremy Huggins, a spokesperson for , said the F-35’s transponder – which would help officials locate the plane – is not working, for unknown reasons.

Huggins said: “That’s why we put out the public request for help.”

“The aircraft is stealth, so it has different coatings and different designs that make it more difficult than a normal aircraft to detect,” he told the Washington Post.

Given that the pilot was engaging in a “military exercise” at the time of the jet’s disappearance, speculation has grown over what, exactly, the pilots were doing in the area.

Authorities continue to investigate why the pilot chose to eject from the aircraft.

Military officials appealed in online posts Sunday for any help from the public in locating the aircraft.

Local congresswoman, Rep. Nancy Mace, tweeted: “How in the hell do you lose an F-35? How is there not a tracking device and we’re asking the public to what, find a jet and turn it in?”

Joint Base Charleston said in a tweet: “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.”

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