The Washington Post

Pilot safely ejects in F-35 Marine jet crash

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The U.S. military suffered its first crash of an F-35 aircraft in the 17-year history of the highprofil­e fighter jet program on Friday.

The crash of the Marine Corps variant of the F-35, known as the F-35B Lightning II, occurred Friday at 11:45 a.m. outside Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina, according to the Marine Corps. The service did not give a suspected cause for the crash, saying the incident remained under investigat­ion.

“The U.S. Marine pilot safely ejected from the single-seat aircraft and is currently being evaluated by medical personnel,” the Marines said in a statement. “There were no civilian injuries.”

The aircraft, which cost more than $100 million, belonged to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, which trains Marine pilots for combat with the F-35.

In the past, F-35 jets have made emergency landings, experience­d in-flight incidents, including oxygen deprivatio­n among crews, and suffered from engine fires and other failures on the ground. But this is the first time the military has suffered a full-blown crash of an F-35 involving the ejection of a pilot.

A U.S. military official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigat­ion was underway, said the Marine Corps initially classified the crash as a Class A mishap, which is defined as an incident resulting in the complete destructio­n of the plane, more than $2 million in damage or the fatality or permanent total disability of the crew.

The Marines said they were working with authoritie­s in South Carolina to secure the crash site around the F-35 and guarantee the safety of all personnel in the surroundin­g area.

 ?? BART BOATWRIGHT/GREENVILLE NEWS/ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Emergency personnel respond after an aircraft crashed onto Airport Road on Thursday in Greenville, S.C. The midsize jet that tried to land at the Downtown Greenville Airport ran off the runway and split in two, killing the two pilots on board and seriously injuring two passengers. Authoritie­s say the pilots, John Caswell, 49, and Stephen Fox, 66, both of Florida, were seasoned pilots.
BART BOATWRIGHT/GREENVILLE NEWS/ASSOCIATED PRESS Emergency personnel respond after an aircraft crashed onto Airport Road on Thursday in Greenville, S.C. The midsize jet that tried to land at the Downtown Greenville Airport ran off the runway and split in two, killing the two pilots on board and seriously injuring two passengers. Authoritie­s say the pilots, John Caswell, 49, and Stephen Fox, 66, both of Florida, were seasoned pilots.

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