US Marines have somehow lost an expensive fighter jet that could still be cruising around on autopilot after its human operator was ejected during what the military branch is calling a "mishap."
As NBC News and other outlets reported, there's a lot we still don't know about what exactly happened with the roughly $80 million-per-unit F-35B jet. Its pilot was ejected somewhere over South Carolina — and its stealth mode is proving to be so effective that even the government straight up doesn't know where the runaway jet is.
"The search-and-recovery efforts for the aircraft are ongoing, and we are thankful to the agencies assisting in this effort," Captain Joe Leitner, a spokesperson for the Second Marine Aircraft Wing, the unit responsible for the pilot and the jet, told reporters. "The mishap is currently under investigation."
So far, we don't know why pilot Jeremy Huggins yeeted himself out of the uber-expensive jet, but Joint Base Charleston has confirmed that it was in autopilot mode when he did so, per NBC. As Joint Base Charleston noted on Facebook, the pilot received medical care and was deemed to be in stable condition — though the condition of the jet itself is still unknown.
Jesus Take the Wheel
As NBC notes, government authorities say there's reason to believe the plane continued flying without its pilot for quite some time. Earlier today, Joint Base Charleston's X account tweeted that its teams are "using ground and air assets" to locate the jet.
Mysteriously, Huggins would not reveal to reporters why he self-ejected. He did say, however, that more details will be provided soon.
Joint Base Charleston has asked the public to call its operations center if they have potential information about the F-35's whereabouts.
On the whole, it's a pretty ironic situation, given that taxpayers footed the bill for the expensive fighter jet and the stealth technology that appears to have made it impossible to find.
Let's hope Huggins is reunited with his absconding jet soon — that is, if there's anything left of it.
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