An F-35B fighter jet has crashed near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina.
The crash occurred Friday morning and the pilot ejected safely. It is the first time an F-35 has crashed, according to a defense official who spoke with CNN on Friday.
“On September 28, at approximately 11:45, a 2D Marine Aircraft Wing F-35B impacted near the Broad River in Beaufort County. The pilot safely ejected and is being examined by medical personnel. To ensure the safety of the general public, as well as officials securing the site, all civilians should remain clear. More information will be provided as it becomes available,” according to a statement by the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
The crash occurred west of the Air Station in a marshy area. The pilot was able to eject before the plane crashed into the ground.
The pilot was rescued by emergency personnel and transferred to a “medical facility” to undergo examination, however, no injuries were reported, according to a statement by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.
Law enforcement said to avoid the area while authorities conducted an investigation of the incident. The cause of the crash is currently unknown. No details were released on the pilot, or the age or condition of the aircraft.
UPDATE: We have just received this photo of the military plane crash from our NBC affiliate in Beaufort County, S.C. pic.twitter.com/USHMjoGAl7
— WSMV News4 Nashville (@WSMV) September 28, 2018
The crash comes just one day after an F-35B successfully stuck a Taliban target in Afghanistan during its first ever combat mission and airstrike.
The strike was carried out by the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, who conducted the strike in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
“During this mission the F-35B conducted an air strike in support of ground clearance operations, and the strike was deemed successful by the ground force commander,” a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command statement said.
The F-35 aircraft is considered one of the most expensive weapon systems ever. The F-35B is one of three variants, and the only one capable of vertical landings like a helicopter.
The Marine Corps was the first branch to integrate the F-35B in 2015, while the Air Force integrated the F-35A variant in 2016. The F-35C variant is scheduled to be integrated into the Navy in Feb. 2019.