On September 17, an F-35 Stealth Fighter Jet crashed in South Carolina, and the pilot ejected, landing in a resident’s backyard, prompting a unique 911 call. The 47-year-old pilot reported his fall from about 2,000 feet due to an “aircraft failure” and requested medical assistance.
Joint Base Charleston reported his stable condition after hospitalization. Later, the military located the F-35’s debris field in Williamsburg County. A situational report indicated the pilot was forced to eject at about 1,000 feet due to a malfunction.
A government watchdog report revealed the F-35 fleet’s low “mission capable” rate, only 55%, attributed to maintenance challenges, raising concerns about taxpayers not getting their “money’s worth.”
Keep on reading to learn more.
South Carolina Resident Calls 911 For Ejected F-35 Pilot
On September 17, a pilot ejected from a crashed F-35 Stealth Fighter Jet in South Carolina, leading to an unusual 911 call. In a four-minute recording released to the Associated Press, a resident reported, per People, “We got a pilot in the house, and I guess he landed in my backyard, and we’re trying to see if we could get an ambulance to the house, please.”
The pilot, a 47-year-old man, spoke with the dispatcher, explaining he had fallen about 2,000 feet due to an “aircraft failure.” He mentioned some back pain but felt “okay.” The resident also said that he looked “fine.”
He identified himself as the pilot and requested medical assistance, saying, “I ejected, and I just rode a parachute down to the ground. Can you please send an ambulance?”
He added, “We have a military jet crash. I’m not sure where the airplane is. It would have crash-landed somewhere. I ejected.”
Joint Base Charleston Says The Fighter Jet ‘Mishap’ Is Under Investigation
Joint Base Charleston provided an update on Facebook, stating that the pilot from the crashed F-35 Stealth Fighter Jet was taken to a hospital and is now in stable condition. Later reports confirmed that he was discharged without sustaining major injuries.
After the aircraft went missing, the military sought public assistance in locating the $80 million jet. According to the air base’s social media posts, personnel from Charleston base and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort eventually discovered the F-35’s debris field in Williamsburg County on September 18.
In a statement on Facebook, Joint Base Charleston revealed it was “transferring incident command to the USMC, as they begin the recovery process.” They mentioned that the mishap is currently under investigation and couldn’t provide further details in order to protect the investigative process.
Report Says Pilot Was ‘Forced To Eject’ At Approximately 1000 Feet
According to officials on Monday evening, searchers later discovered a debris field in Williamsburg County, located about two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston.
Eyewitnesses who observed the plane before the crash informed NBC News that they had witnessed the aircraft flying in an “inverted” position just before the accident.
A situational report obtained by the AP from a Marine Corps official stated that the pilot “experienced a malfunction and was forced to eject” at an altitude of approximately 1,000 feet.
As reported by the outlet, the Marines also highlighted in their statement on September 21 that another fortunate aspect of this incident was that by flying away, the F-35 jet managed to avoid crashing into a densely populated area around the airport. Instead, it crashed into an “empty field and forested area.”
F-35 Fighter Jet Is ‘Mission Capable’ Only 55% Of The Time
The F-35 program is a substantial expense within the Defense Department, tallying up to $1.7 trillion in taxpayer costs over its lifespan.
However, a recent report from a government watchdog, released on Thursday, emphasizes persisting maintenance delays, revealing that these fighter jets merely achieve a “mission capable” status 55% of the time.
This falls significantly short of the Pentagon’s target range of 85% to 90%. The Government Accountability Office attributes this subpar performance to maintenance challenges, including issues with depot and “organizational maintenance.”
Author Diana Maurer, in charge of the report, highlights that “If the aircraft can only perform 55% of the time and the goal is 85 to 90% of the time, taxpayers are not getting their money’s worth.”
A few days ago, a South Carolina resident went viral for his stunning recap of the moment the fighter jet crashed near his home. Check out his interview here.
Post source: The blast