Debris from an F-35 military jet that went missing after the pilot ejected has been discovered in rural Williamsburg County, South Carolina, according to US military officials. The pilot safely parachuted to the ground in a North Charleston neighborhood. The $100 million plane disappeared on Sunday and had been in autopilot mode when the pilot ejected, potentially complicating the search efforts.
Authorities had asked the public for help in locating the jet, which was last seen near Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion. The wreckage of the missing plane has now been confirmed, and military officials are now working to determine the exact sequence of events leading to the crash. The pilot may have remained in the cockpit for some time before ejecting, further hampering efforts to locate the aircraft.
Experts speculate that the electronic transponder may have been fried when the pilot ejected, rendering it impossible for the military to track the plane’s location. The intense heat and rocket exhaust from the ejection seat may also have destroyed the plane’s electronics, making it difficult to determine its whereabouts. If the aircraft did crash into water, the signal would be lost as well.
While it is theoretically possible that the jet continued flying after the pilot ejected, experts believe it to be highly unlikely due to the extensive damage the aircraft would have sustained. The change in aerodynamics caused by the loss of the canopy would further affect its ability to remain airborne.
Further updates on this breaking news story will be provided shortly.