SOUTH CAROLINA (WTVO) — UPDATE 9/18: Debris from the missing jet was found in in Williamsburg County, South Carolina on Monday afternoon.
ORIGINAL STORY: The U.S. Air Force is asking the public to help them search for a missing fighter jet after its pilot ejected on Sunday afternoon.
According to Joint Base Charleston, the Air Force said it was working to “locate an F-35 that was involved in a mishap” that resulted in the pilot ejecting from the aircraft.
The pilot parachuted to the ground and was located and taken to a hospital.
However, the fate of the F-35B Lightning II fighter jet remains unknown.
Officials say the stealth fighter was in autopilot mode at the time of the incident, and a spokesman said there is a possibility that it remains airborne, according to NBC News.
The jet’s transponder was not working “for some reason we haven’t yet determined,” said Jeremy Huggins, a spokesman for Joint Base Charleston, said. The reason as to why the pilot was ejected was not given.
“If you have any information on the whereabouts of the F-35, please call our Base Defense Operations Center at 843-963-3600,” Joint Base Charleston said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Based on the jet’s last-known position and in coordination with the FAA, we are focusing our attention north of JB Charleston, around Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion.”
Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the F-35 series, called it “the most advanced fighter jet in the world” and the “most lethal, stealthy and survivable aircraft.”