It’s not your typical social media plea. Joint Base Charleston, a US military base in South Carolina, posted on Facebook and X seeking the public’s help to find a F-35B Lightning II jet that went missing Sunday. While the pilot was able to eject, the plane has not yet been found.
The post said that personnel from the base and from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, also in South Carolina, are responding to the “mishap” involving the jet.
“The pilot ejected safely and was transferred to a local medical center in stable condition,” the Facebook post said in part. “Emergency response teams are still trying to locate the F-35. The public is asked to cooperate with military and civilian authorities as the effort” continues.
As of 4:25 pm ET on Monday, the plane still hadn’t been found, a representative for Joint Base Charleston told CNET in an email.
“Teams continue to search for the US Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II, using both ground and air assets,” the representative said. “We appreciate the support we’ve received from our mission partners and every organization involved, as integrated teams are searching and preparing for the recovery of the jet. Please continue to monitor our social media pages, we will post updates as they become available.”
Those with any information are asked to call the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Public Affairs Office at 252-466-3827.
The jokes, of course, came fast and furious, with many people on social media wondering if the jet didn’t have any kind of tracker.
“Did the pilot happen to leave his cell phone in the plane? We know the govt can track that,” wrote one Facebook user.
Jeremy Huggins, a spokesman at Joint Base Charleston, told The Washington Post that the jet’s transponder, which usually helps locate the aircraft, was not working “for some reason that we haven’t yet determined.”
“The aircraft is stealth, so it has different coatings and different designs that make it more difficult than a normal aircraft to detect,” Huggins told the newspaper.
He said the search is focusing on Lake Moultrie, “a murky body of water that is 75 feet deep at its deepest point and 14 miles across at its widest.”
Joint Base Charleston noted on X that “based on the jet’s last-known position and in coordination with the FAA, we are focusing our attention north of JB Charleston, around Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion.”
Lake Marion is the largest lake in South Carolina and covers 110,600 acres.
Lockheed Martin makes the F-35. Its website describes the plane as “the most lethal, survivable and connected fighter jet in the world.”
And also, perhaps, one of the more difficult to find.
“Stealth capabilities are confirmed!” wrote one Facebook user.