Downed fighter jet was found in wooded area of Williamsburg County; debris field is extensive

WILLIAMSBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Authorities in Williamsburg County say wreckage from downed stealth fighter model F-35B airplane was discovered in a wooded area off Old Georgetown Road/S-45-39 on Monday afternoon.

Joint Base Charleston initially confirmed that a debris field was found in the Indiantown area of the county, which is about two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston.

Williamsburg County deputies were dispatched to the Cades and Hemingway areas to assist and provide support to Joint Base Charleston in their search for the fighter jet, which went missing after the pilot ejected over North Charleston on Sunday in what is being called a “mishap.”

Jalisa Brown, a spokesperson for the Williamsburg County Sheriff’s Office, said the debris field from the aircraft is extensive and asked members of the community to avoid the area while recovery teams secure the debris.

Deputies and troopers from the South Carolina Highway Patrol provided traffic control on Old Georgetown Road while authorities responded to the scene Monday.

About a mile of the roadway will remain closed for an unknown amount of time between County Road S-45-84 and Bartells Road/County Road S-45-118.

Detour Routes:
Vehicular traffic traveling north on Old Georgetown Road/S-45-39 should:
· Turn right onto Midway Road/S-45-84.
· Left onto Baptist Road/S-45-85.
· Left onto Bartells Road/S-45-118.
· Right onto Old Georgetown Road/S-45-39.

Vehicular traffic traveling south on Old Georgetown Road/S-45-39 should:
· Turn left onto Bartells Road/S-45-118.
· Turn right onto Baptist Road/S-45-85.
· Turn right onto Midway Road/S-45-84.
· Turn left onto Old Georgetown Road/S-45-39.

The pilot was found on South Kenwood Drive in North Charleston after safely ejecting from the aircraft. The pilot, who has not been identified, was taken to a local hospital and is in stable condition.

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.” The aircraft can also operate undetected in hostile airspace.

It remains unclear why the pilot ejected from the aircraft.

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Author: Tim Renaud