Newly released 911 audio details the emergency call between an operator and the pilot of the F-35 that went missing earlier this week, highlighting the confusion after the pilot ejected from the $100 million aircraft in South Carolina.
The audio, released by Charleston County, reveals the pilot took refuge in a nearby home after he ejected from the F-35 on Sunday night near Joint Base Charleston.
After calling 911, a homeowner requested the operator bring an ambulance to his house to assist the pilot, though he had to explain the situation twice to the confused operator.
“We got a pilot in the house, I guess he landed in my backyard,” the homeowner said.
The operator then asked for the age of the pilot, whose identity has not been released by officials.
“We had a military jet crash. I’m the pilot; we need to get the rescue rolling,” the pilot answered. “I’m not sure where the airplane is; it would have crash-landed somewhere. I ejected.”
The pilot said an “aircraft failure” caused the crash but did not explain any further details. He said he parachuted down and did not have any serious injuries, though his back hurt.
Radio communication audio also released by the county detailed the police and emergency response to the incident. An officer said the pilot “with his parachute” landed in a backyard and the plane was missing.
“The pilot lost sight [of the plane] on the way down due to the weather,” the officer said.
An ambulance eventually came to pick up the pilot, who was described as “coherent” and “fine” in the audio.
The F-35B Lightning II jet was found Monday in WIlliamsburg County in a debris field, about a day later after the crash. Military officials with Joint Base Charleston described the crash as the result of a “mishap.”
Joint Base Charleston initially had trouble locating the aircraft and asked for the public’s help to find it.
The Marines said an investigation into the incident is still underway as numerous questions remain unresolved, including why the pilot had to eject and why the search took so long.