The U.S. military has launched a search operation for an F-35 fighter jet that disappeared following an unspecified “mishap” over the weekend. What makes this situation even more intriguing is the possibility that the aircraft may still be airborne without a pilot.
The F-35, known for its elite capabilities, has been reported missing by authorities at South Carolina’s Joint Base Charleston. The incident occurred during a training exercise when the pilot was forced to eject from the aircraft. However, the exact circumstances leading to the ejection have not been disclosed by officials.
In response to the disappearance of the F-35, a joint effort involving Joint Base Charleston and MCAS Beaufort is underway. They have reached out to the public for assistance in locating the aircraft.
A statement posted on social media read, “We’re working with @MCASBeaufortSC to locate an F-35 that was involved in a mishap this afternoon. The pilot ejected safely. If you have any information that may help our recovery teams locate the F-35, please call the Base Defense Operations Center.”
It has been revealed that the F-35 was in autopilot mode when the pilot ejected, adding an air of mystery to the situation. What precisely occurred leading up to the pilot’s decision to abandon the aircraft remains undisclosed at this time.
Interestingly, the Air Force has refrained from using the term “crash” to describe the fate of the missing jet. While one might assume that a crash is the likely outcome, officials are being cautious in their choice of words, leaving the possibility open that the aircraft might still be flying.
This unconventional terminology has fueled speculation that the F-35 might be continuing to fly in an uncontrolled manner, earning it the moniker “zombie jet.” To aid in its recovery, the Air Force has narrowed down its search to the vicinity of Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, based on the jet’s last-known position. They are also collaborating with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to pinpoint its location.
If you happen to spot the missing F-35 or have any information that could assist in its recovery, please contact 843-963-3600.