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Missing F-35 fighter jet

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Authorities searched near two South Carolina lakes on Monday for a military jet that apparently crashed after the pilot safely ejected over the weekend.

The pilot, whose name hasn’t been released, parachuted to safety into a North Charleston neighborhood at around 2 p.m. Sunday. He was taken to a hospital, where he was in stable condition, Marines Maj. Melanie Salinas said Sunday.

Cpl. Christian Cortez, a Marine with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, said there was a mishap involving an F-35B Lightning II jet and that the search was ongoing Monday. Exactly what happened was under investigation, he said.

Based on the missing plane’s location and trajectory, the search was focused on Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, said Senior Master Sgt. Heather Stanton at Joint Base Charleston. Both lakes are north of North Charleston.

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FILE - A Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II performs a demonstration flight at the Paris Air Show, in Le Bourget, east of Paris, Tuesday, June 20, 2017. On Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, a Marine Corps pilot safely ejected from an F-35 Lightning II over North Charleston, S.C. The search for his missing aircraft was focused on two lakes north of North Charleston, military officials said. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

Search on for a missing Marine Corps fighter jet in South Carolina after pilot safely ejects

A South Carolina Law Enforcement Division helicopter joined the search after some bad weather cleared in the area, Stanton said. Military officials appealed in online posts Sunday for any help from the public in locating the aircraft.

The pilot of a second F-35 returned safely to Joint Base Charleston, Salinas said.

The planes and pilots were with the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing based in Beaufort, near the South Carolina coast.

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