Military Finds F-35 Debris 80 Miles From Pilot's Ejection Area 

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Sep 19, 2023 - 09:44 AM

Update (1842ET):

ABC 15 local news reported that military ground teams have found "parts and debris" linked to the lost F-35B Lightning II near Indiantown Road in Florence County, South Carolina.

"The location where the debris and parts were found is roughly 80 miles from where officials say the pilot ejected near North Charleston on Sunday," WPDE ABC15 noted.

According to ABC 15, locals in the area mentioned hearing a low-flying fighter jet on Sunday, followed by a loud bang.

The military has called for a two-day hat of all aircraft, both domestically and internationally. The developments in this story become more bizarre by the day.

The Babylon Bee provides a comedic take on the incident...

What remains a mystery is why the pilot ejected. 

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Update (1456ET):

The F-35 is still missing. However, the flight tracking website Flightradar24 has revealed numerous aircraft have been searching an area north of North Charleston. 

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"How in the hell do you lose an F-35?" South Carolina Republican Representative Nancy Mace wrote on X Sunday night, adding, "How is there not a tracking device, and we're asking the public to what, find a jet and turn it in?"

On Sunday afternoon, Joint Base Charleston, an air base in North Charleston, was working with Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort to "locate an F-35 that was involved in a mishap". The pilot ejected safely from F-35B Lightning II, but there were no immediate crash reports. 

The fact that the $140 million stealth fighter disappeared without any reports of a crash means it might have gone down in a sparsely populated area. The Drive pointed out, "The DoD is saying the F-35B was put on autopilot prior to the ejection." 

Military expert and former British military officer Frank Ledwidge told Newsweek the F-35 "could likely travel hundreds of miles without its pilot." 

"Historically, an aircraft without a pilot can fly a long way on autopilot," added Frederik Mertens, a military analyst with the Hague Center for Security Studies.

The Washington Post quoted Jeremy Huggins, a spokesman at Joint Base Charleston, who said the F-35's transponder was not working "for some reason that we haven't yet determined."