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Wednesday June 19, 2024

‘We got a pilot in our house’ — homeowner tells dispatcher after F-35 ejection

By AFP
September 23, 2023

WASHINGTON: A recording was released on Friday of a 911 emergency call from a homeowner reporting that the pilot of a US Marine Corps F-35 had parachuted into his backyard after ejecting from the stealth jet.

“I guess we got a pilot in our house,” the homeowner said. “He ejected from the plane. I guess he landed in my backyard and we were trying to see if we could get an ambulance to the house.”

“I´m sorry, what happened?” said the bewildered 911 dispatcher who fielded the unusual call over the weekend. The pilot parachuted safely into a neighbourhood in North Charleston, South Carolina, on Sunday after ejecting from the $80 million jet, which continued flying in what some called a “zombie state.”

The plane eventually crashed about 100-km north of where the pilot ejected and the wreckage was located on Monday after the authorities asked the public to help find the missing jet. After the homeowner spoke to the dispatcher, the pilot himself got on the phone and tried to explain the situation.

“I´m a pilot in a military aircraft and I ejected so I just rode a parachute down to the ground,” he said. “Can you please send an ambulance?” The dispatcher at this point did not appear to understand that she was speaking to the pilot himself.

“How far did he fall?” she asked. “I was at 2,000 feet,” the pilot said. “Okay, and what caused the fall?” the dispatcher asked. “An aircraft failure,” the pilot responded.

He told the dispatcher he was “not sure where the airplane is” and asked if there had been any reports of an airplane crash. “I have not seen any come up yet,” the dispatcher said.

The wreckage of the F-35 was found in Williamsburg County, South Carolina, northeast of Joint Base Charleston, where the plane took off on a routine training flight.