Marine Corps orders ‘safety stand down’ for all aircraft after F-35 crash

All Marine Corps aircraft, inside and outside the U.S., were grounded Monday in the wake of the crash of a stealth F-35 jet in South Carolina that led military officials to ask the public for help in finding the $80 million jet.

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According to the Pentagon, the pause in operations will allow units “to discuss aviation safety matters and best practices.”

Marine leadership will use the stand down “to ensure the service is maintaining operational standardization of combat-ready aircraft with well-prepared pilots and crews,” the Pentagon added.

Marine aircraft deployed abroad or with imminent missions will be able to delay the order for a day or so, but are expected to stand down for two days this week, Marine officials said, according to NBC News.

The order came after an F-35B Lightning II jet “suffered a mishap” over North Charleston, South Carolina, on Sunday afternoon. The pilot ejected safely into a North Charleston neighborhood at about 2 p.m. and was said to be in stable condition at a hospital on Monday.

Marine officials said a debris field believed to be the wreckage of the missing plane was located about two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston, officials wrote on social media.

Military officials have not said what caused the pilot to eject.

Sunday’s crash is the third incident in a month involving aircraft flown by the Marine Corps. An F-18 pilot died during a training flight near San Diego, and three Marines died and more were wounded when an Osprey crashed off the coast of Australia.

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