Is it over? A debris field in Williamsburg County, South Carolina, has been discovered, approximately two hours north of Joint Base Charleston, where this military kerfuffle with an F-35 jet occurred. A “mishap” occurred during a routine flight, causing the pilot to eject. This person is fine, having been listed as stable at a local hospital. The issue is that the autopilot was engaged before ejection, causing some to speculate the aircraft's location. Where did it go?
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.— Joint Base Charleston (@TeamCharleston) September 17, 2023
Calling the case of a still-missing F-35 jet a "mishap" may be one of the greater understatements made by a U.S. government entity in recent memory, but the Marine Corps announced Monday afternoon that it was taking rather drastic action as the search continues for their runaway aircraft.
"Marine Corps Commandant Eric Smith on Monday issued a two-day stand-down to take place at some point this week for all aviation units both inside and outside of the United States," a Marine Corps spokesperson told ABC News.
"No units are allowed to fly until they have a two-day discussion about safety measures and procedures, the commandant said in a service-wide email on Monday," reported ABC News. "While the Marine Corps commandant said he has full confidence in the aviation units, he said he felt this was the 'right and prudent' thing to do given both this incident and another recent incident in Australia."
🚨 #BREAKING: The Missing F-35 fighter jet has reportedly been found, crashed in Williamsburg County, South Carolina.— Nick Sortor (@nicksortor) September 18, 2023
The cause of the crash is currently unknown, but the Marines have ordered the grounding of all planes across the world for the next few days 🚨 pic.twitter.com/pvGRUkQROm
BREAKING: The missing F-35 fighter jet has allegedly been found in a field in Williamsburg County, South Carolina.— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) September 18, 2023
The news was reported by local news station NBC 2 who say officials from Joint Base Charleston confirmed the news.
"Officials with Joint Base Charleston confirmed… pic.twitter.com/22k1Kx9wZx
It looks like the Marines could rescind that order, given the news of the debris field (via ABC News):
A debris field has been found in South Carolina during the search for a F-35 fighter jet that had gone missing after a "mishap" on Sunday, military officials confirmed in a statement on Monday night.
Officials said the debris was found in Williamsburg County some two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston, which is now handing off command to the Marine Corps.
The pilot of the craft had "safely ejected" during the incident, authorities previously said.
A Marine Corps spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday "we are currently still gathering more information and assessing the situation. The mishap will be under investigation."
"We are unable to provide additional details to preserve the integrity of the investigative process," officials said in the statement on Monday.
"We would like to thank all of our mission partners, as well as local, county, and state authorities, for their dedication and support throughout the search and as we transition to the recovery phase," the officials said.
We’ll keep you updated.
Yeah, the search is over.
JUST IN - Missing F-35 fighter jet found, crashed in Williamsburg County, South Carolina.— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) September 18, 2023
BREAKING: Authorities have found debris that belongs to a missing F-35 Marine fighter jet that crashed in South Carolina after its pilot ejected. https://t.co/FAKQo3qkBJ— The Associated Press (@AP) September 18, 2023