Pilot Parachuted Into Backyard After Ditching Fighter Jet

Many questions remain regarding Sunday's incident
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 20, 2023 2:00 AM CDT
Pilot Parachuted Into Someone's Backyard After Ditching Fighter Jet
Airmen from Joint Base Charleston speak to a family living right next to the site of a crashed F-35 about the operation to recover the fighter jet and requests for the family in Williamsburg County, SC, on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023.   (Henry Taylor/The Post And Courier via AP)

The pilot of a $100 million stealth fighter jet parachuted safely into the backyard of a home in South Carolina after a malfunction forced him to eject from the aircraft, causing the plane to crash into a wooded area about 60 miles away, the AP reports. A US Marine Corps official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release details of the investigation into Sunday's crash told the AP that the aircraft was not found until the next day. A state law enforcement helicopter located the jet and debris around 5pm Monday in a field near Indiantown, South Carolina. The pilot, who has not been identified by the Marine Corps, did not have serious injuries and has been discharged from the hospital.

The trip that began as a routine training flight did not last very long. The pilot "experienced a malfunction and was forced to eject" on Sunday at an altitude of about 1,000 feet just 1 mile north of Charleston International Airport, according to a situation report given to the AP by the Marine Corps official. More questions than answers remained Tuesday around how an F-35B Joint Strike Fighter wound up leaving a debris field described as "extensive" by the local sheriff's department. Officials closed about one mile of road indefinitely as they continued searching rural Williamsburg County for any wreckage. Residents were being asked to avoid the area while a recovery team worked to secure it.

(More South Carolina stories.)

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