A stealth-capable US fighter jet, an F-35, mysteriously vanished during a flight assignment in South Carolina, in an unusual and alarming sequence of events.
The pilot was forced to eject from the aircraft due to what the authorities are describing as a “mishap,” but he survived and is now in stable condition.
However, the expensive plane has proven elusive, leading to an extraordinary appeal for public help in its recovery.
The event took place in the southeasterly state of South Carolina when the F-35 encountered an unreported occurrence that required the pilot to escape from the plane in order to protect himself.
The US military was in a costly bind since it was unable to find the missing fighter jet, even if the identity of the pilot is still unknown.
In an unconventional move, Joint Base Charleston reached out to the public, urging anyone with information about the aircraft’s whereabouts to contact the Base Defense Operations Center.
“If you have any information that may help our recovery teams locate the F-35, please call the Base Defense Operations Center,” a statement from the base said.
Base authorities said they were searching in coordination with federal aviation regulators around two lakes north of Charleston city.
Each F-35 aircraft, designed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin, carries a hefty price tag of approximately $80 million. This not only highlights the immense financial investment involved but also underscores the significance of recovering the missing jet, both in terms of national security and fiscal responsibility.