FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Debris from a fighter jet that went missing after a pilot ejected on Sunday has been found in the Indiantown area of Williamsburg County, South Carolina, according to officials.
Joint Base Charleston said they are transferring incident command to the Marine Corps Monday evening as they begin the recovery process.
The search was expanded to the Pee Dee region on Monday morning.
The Florence County Sheriff’s Office said Monday it has been helping the U.S. Air Force look for the F-35B Lightning II jet, which has been missing since a Marine Corps pilot safely ejected over North Charleston. The jet had departed from North Bases Charleston, military officials said.
A flight path for the South Carolina Wing of the Civil Air Patrol shows an air search has been going on on Monday over parts of Florence and Marion counties. A staging area has been set up at the South Lynches Fire Department training center on Industrial Boulevard near Lake City.
The South Carolina Wing of the Civil Air Patrol performs search and rescue, disaster relief, emergency service, counterdrug and homeland security missions throughout the state, according to the organization’s website. As a whole, the Civil Air Patrol is responsible for 90% of inland search and rescue missions in the United States as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center.
The $80 million F-35, a single-seat fighter, is made by Lockheed Martin and can reach speeds of 1,200 mph, according to the company’s website. It is capable of vertical landings and short take-offs, and Lockheed Martin calls it the “most advanced fighter jet in the world.”
It can also operate undetected in hostile airspace, according to the British Royal Air Force website.