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Missing F-35 went nearly inverted, witnesses say

The Department of Defense can’t account for spare parts worth millions of dollars that use its costliest weapon, the F-35 jet, auditors say. (Master Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady/U.S. Air Force/TNS)
September 22, 2023

The missing F-35 jet that disappeared over the weekend before authorities located it in a South Carolina field was “almost going inverted” before it crashed, a witness to the incident says.

Adrian Truluck said she and her husband Stephen saw the aircraft during their son’s 7th birthday party, NBC News reported.

“Our kids always give a little salute, so we said, ‘Look at the plane. Oh my gosh, it’s so low,'” Adrian Truluck said. “And it was kind of probably 100 feet above the treetops and almost going inverted.” 

“It was probably three-quarters of the way,” Stephen Truluck noted, adding they could “see the canopy” of the jet.

The pair said they heard a “boom” sound shortly after spotting the aircraft.

“We were thinking it was rolling thunder in the distance and didn’t give it another thought until we saw the plane was missing, and we were like, that had to be the plane,” Adrian Truluck said,

United States military officials announced on Monday that the missing F-35 jet was found after its pilot safely ejected due to a “mishap” over the weekend.

“Personnel from Joint Base Charleston and @MCASBeaufortSC, in close coordination with local authorities, have located a debris field in Williamsburg County. The debris was discovered two hours northeast of JB Charleston,” Joint Base Charleston wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“We would like to thank all of our mission partners, as well as local, county, and state authorities, for their dedication and support throughout the search and as we transition to the recovery phase,” the base added in a follow-up post.

Military officials found the jet after asking the public to help locate it.

“We’re working with @MCASBeaufortSC to locate an F-35 that was involved in a mishap this afternoon. The pilot ejected safely. If you have any information that may help our recovery teams locate the F-35, please call the Base Defense Operations Center at 843-963-3600,” the base posted.

“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,” it added.