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US officials say the cleanup and recovery efforts following the F-35B Lightning II jet crash in eastern South Carolina have been completed.
Last month, a pilot reported an “aircraft failure” before ejecting from the F-35B, resulting in a landing in a local resident’s backyard. The subsequent search for the jet required public assistance and led to a temporary halt in aviation activities by Gen. Eric Smith, a top Marine Corps officer.
The crash site, identified in Indiantown, yielded a “debris field” discovered more than a day after the jet’s disappearance. With the wreckage transported to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, officials have remained tight-lipped regarding the jet’s status due to an ongoing investigation.
Sarah Murtagh, a Navy on-scene coordinator, said, “I hope that the thorough job of removing contaminants we have done here underscores the Navy and Marine Corps commitment to ensuring the safety and environmental integrity of this beautiful area.” Cleanup personnel, comprising sailors and Marines, prioritized environmental restoration, aiming to leave the land free from contaminants and conducive for natural growth. Murtagh confirmed the effectiveness of their efforts, noting that while natural vegetation might need time to regrow, steps were taken for rapid land recovery.