The F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter that vanished over South Carolina flew for almost 60 miles without a pilot before it reportedly came down in some trees.
The jet’s wreckage was discovered on Monday after the pilot parachuted to safety into a property on Sunday.
But despite a thorough examination into the tragedy, many unanswered concerns persist. The United States Marine Corps hasn’t provided many details about how the “most expensive” aircraft disappeared and crashed.
“How in the hell do you lose an F-35?” Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “How is there not a tracking device and we’re asking the public to what, find a jet and turn it in?”
The defense organization has classified the incident as a “Class-A mishap,” and the Marine Corps is in charge of conducting the investigation. A “Class-A mishap” occurs when a Department of Defense aircraft is destroyed, someone perishes or has a serious disability, or losses of $2.5 million or more are incurred.
Acting Commandant Gen. Eric Smith ordered a two-day stand down for the Marine Corps on Monday as they continued to look for the plane.
An inquiry for comment on Wednesday wasn’t immediately answered by the Marine Corps’ 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.
The F-35B Lightning II, which was developed by fighter jet manufacturer Lockheed Martin, is said to be the world’s most deadly and resilient aircraft. The U.S. Marine Corps, the United Kingdom, and the Italian Air Force fly it, and it has a limited takeoff and landing range.