An F-35B has crashed in South Carolina near the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, military officials have confirmed.
The pilot safely ejected from the aircraft and is currently being looked at by medical personnel, Capt. Christopher Harrison, a Marine spokesman, said in a command release.
The aircraft belonged to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, known as the “Warlords.”
“Marines from MCAS Beaufort are working with local authorities currently conducting standard mishap operations to secure the crash site and ensure the safety of all personnel in the surrounding area,” Harrison said.
Numerous local agencies to include the Beaufort Sheriff’s office, Beaufort County Emergency Medical Services, and Beaufort Water Search and Rescue responded to the crash and assisted the Marines with rescue of the pilot and follow on investigation, according to a press release from Sheriff’s office.
The Corps said there were no civilian injuries as a result of the crash.
Friday’s crash occurred just one day after the Corps' F-35B flew its first combat mission: a ground clearance airstrike in Afghanistan.
According to Defense News, the Marine air base at Beaufort, South Carolina, has been training new pilots for the high-tech stealth fighter, but has faced complications over spare parts and the jet’s logistics system.
Some of the F-35s sit for extended periods of time waiting for spare parts ordered through the Autonomic Logistics Information System. Sometimes the ALIS projects delivery of expected spare parts as far as two years out, Defense News has reported.
Just 82 miles southwest of the Beaufort airbase is the Townsend Bombing Range in Georgia, which is currently undergoing an expansion and modernization so that F-35B pilots can train with precision-guided munitions.
In April, a Marine F-35B was forced to make an emergency landing at Cherry Point, North Carolina, after the aircraft began leaking fuel.
The cause of Friday’s F-35B crash is under investigation.
This story is breaking and will be updated as new information becomes available.
Tara Copp and Valerie Insinna contributed to this report.