What happened to the F-35 plane lost in South Carolina? 0:47

(CNN) -- Crews are working to recover the wreckage of an F-35 fighter jet that disappeared in South Carolina over the weekend while an investigation is conducted into the "mishap" that forced its pilot to eject, according to the Marine Corps and a defense official with knowledge of the search.

The plane's wreckage field, about two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston, was discovered Monday after a multi-agency ground and air search for Lockheed Martin's F-35B Lightning II aircraft, described as Lockheed Martin's "most lethal, survivable and most connected fighter jet."

The fighter jet disappeared Sunday after the pilot was ejected and taken to a local medical center in stable condition, Joint Base Charleston said.

Before the wreckage field was found, the Army made an unusual plea to the public for help in finding the F-35 jet, saying its last known position was near Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, northwest of the city of Charleston.

  • Debris found from missing F-35 fighter jet in South Carolina

Community members are now being asked to stay away from the wreckage of the fighter jet as recovery teams work to secure the area in Williamsburg County.


"We are transferring command of the incident to the USMC this afternoon, while they begin the recovery process," Joint Base Charleston said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

It's unclear exactly what happened to force the pilot to eject.

"The mishap is currently under investigation and we cannot provide additional details to preserve the integrity of the investigation process," the Marines said in Monday's statement.

Marine Corps suspends flight operations

It's not the first incident involving military aircraft in recent weeks.

The Marine Corps on Monday ordered a two-day pause in flight operations, citing three "Class A aviation mishaps" in the past six weeks.

"This withdrawal is being taken to ensure that the service maintains operational standardization of combat-ready aircraft with well-prepared pilots and crews," the Marine Corps said in a news release.
While the Marine Corps statement did not provide details of the other two mishaps, there were two aviation incidents that occurred in August.

A pilot was killed Aug. 24 when a Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet crashed near San Diego. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Days later, a Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey crashed during military exercises in Australia, killing three U.S. Marines and leaving five others in serious condition. That accident also remains under investigation.

Although there is no indication of any connection between the accidents, all incidents are classified as Class A mishaps by the Marine Corps, defined as an incident that causes a death or more than $2.5 million in property damage.