The pilot noted to a South Carolina dispatcher that he had fallen about 2,000 feet after "an aircraft failure"
A pilot who ejected from a F-35 Stealth Fighter Jet, which crashed on Sunday, landed in a South Carolina resident’s backyard on Sept. 17 — resulted in an interesting 911 call to emergency dispatchers.
In a four-minute recording released by South Carolina authorities to the Associated Press, a resident could be heard telling the dispatcher, “We got a pilot in the house, and I guess he landed in my backyard, and we’re trying to see if we could get an ambulance to the house, please.”
The pilot then got on the call to describe the situation, letting the dispatcher know that he was a 47-year-old man and had fallen about 2,000 feet after "an aircraft failure," per the AP and NBC News. He noted that he had some back pain, but was feeling “okay” to which the resident also noted that he looked “fine.”
"We have a military jet crash. I’m the pilot. We need to get the rescue rolling,” he told the dispatcher. “I’m not sure where the airplane is. It would have crash-landed somewhere. I ejected."
The pilot continued to ask the dispatcher whether a plane crash had been reported in the area, and again asked for medical help later in the call. “I’m a pilot in a military aircraft, and I ejected. So I just rode a parachute down to the ground. Can you please send an ambulance?,” he said.
Joint Base Charleston wrote on Facebook that the pilot was taken to a hospital where he was in stable condition. The AP reported that he was later discharged after not sustaining serious injuries.
The military had asked for the public’s help in finding the $80 million aircraft shortly after it went missing on Sept. 17. Personnel from the Charleston base and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort eventually found the debris field of the F-35 in Williamsburg County, the air base shared on Sept. 18, via social media.
“JB Charleston is transferring incident command to the USMC this evening, as they begin the recovery process,” Joint Base Charleston wrote in a statement on Facebook. They added that “the mishap is currently under investigation, and we are unable to provide additional details to preserve the integrity of the investigative process.”
Eyewitnesses who saw the plane before the crash told NBC News that they had seen the plane flying above them in an "inverted" position before the crash.
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A situational report obtained by the AP from the Marine Corps official said that the pilot “experienced a malfunction and was forced to eject” at an altitude of approximately 1,000 feet.
The marines also noted in their statement on Sept. 21, per the AP, that “the other bit of silver lining in this case is that through the F-35 flying away it avoided crashing into a densely populated area surrounding the airport, and fortunately crashed into an empty field and forested area.”
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