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 on 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 jet belongs to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, CNN reports. But the Air Force is assisting in the response because the F-35 went down near its base, the Washington Post reports.
A military representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
“The pilot ejected safely and was transferred to a local medical center in stable condition,” the 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.
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 was 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.”
And 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.