F-35 fighter jet search turns to recovery as officials probe what happened in ‘mishap’

F-35 fighter jet search turns to recovery as officials probe what happened in ‘mishap’

Residents in a South Carolina county were urged Monday night to avoid the area where the debris field was found as a recovery team worked to secure the area.

The search for a missing F-35 stealth fighter jet turned to a recovery mission Tuesday after authorities located a debris field in South Carolina, capping an unusual saga that drew global attention.

The discovery came a day after the public was asked for help tracking down the aircraft after the pilot ejected because of a “mishap” and left the jet on autopilot. Officials will now probe exactly what happened, with Marine Corps aircraft grounded following the incident.

Members of the community in Williamsburg County were urged Monday night to avoid the area where the debris field was found as a recovery team worked to secure it.

The debris was discovered about two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston in North Charleston. The base sparked international headlines Sunday after it put out a request on social media for “any information” that might help locate the aircraft, an F-35B Lightning II fighter jet, which comes with a price tag of about $80 million.

The air base had said it was working with Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort to “locate an F-35 that was involved in a mishap” Sunday afternoon.

The pilot was able to eject safely, landing in the backyard of a residence in Charleston and was taken to a medical center in stable condition, two defense officials said. The pilot, who has not been identified, was discharged Monday afternoon.

There were no additional damages or injuries reported, the officials added.

It is still unclear what exactly unfolded in the “mishap” that prompted the pilot to eject from the aircraft.

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