U.S. military asks public for help finding missing F-35 fighter jet after ‘mishap’

US military officials are asking the public for help to find a fighter jet after losing track of it somewhere over South Carolina when the pilot ejected.

According to officials at Joint Base Charleston, the F-35B Lightning II jet “suffered a mishap” over North Charleston, South Carolina, Sunday afternoon. They did not elaborate on the problem the pilot encountered but said the pilot ejected safely into a North Charleston neighborhood at about 2 p.m. and is in stable condition at a hospital.

The search for his missing aircraft is focused on two lakes north of North Charleston, according to The Associated Press.

Joint Base Charleston tweeted an appeal for help on X, saying, “Emergency response teams are still trying to locate the F-35,” it said.

“The public is asked to co-operate with military and civilian authorities as the effort continues,” the tweet said.

The tweet included a number to call if you have any information.

Local congresswoman Nancy Mace said on X: “How in the hell do you lose an F-35? How is there not a tracking device and we’re asking the public to what, find a jet and turn it in?”

A second F-35 jet thought to be flying at the same time returned safely to the base in Charleston, military spokeswoman Maj Melanie Salinas told the AP.

The F-35 is one of the most advanced fighter jets in the world. The single-seat, single-engine jet is made by Lockheed Martin and is believed to cost at least $80 million each.

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