‘A pilot landed in my garden’: Homeowner's shock call after airman ejects from F-35…before flyer says ‘I lost my plane’ | The Sun

A BIZARRE audio call between a shocked homeowner and 911 has been released after a pilot parachuted into a garden and lost his plane.

The unnamed pilot, 47, can be heard admitting that he is "not sure" where his plane is as he pleads for an ambulance following his 2,000 foot plunge.

The pilot had been flying an £81.5million F35 fighter jet over Charleston when the super-advanced stealth aircraft suffered a malfunction and forced him to eject.

Despite eventually landing in the homeowners garden, the pilot's jet continued flying for 60 miles.

It eventually crashed in a rural area near Indiantown but it took a 28-hour frantic search before the wreckage was tracked down.

The pilot reported feeling 'OK' after falling what he estimated was 2,000 feet and that only his back hurt.

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The resident said the pilot looked fine.

Now, the bizarre four-minute recording of the phone call made by the North Charleston resident has emerged.

The unnamed homeowner can be heard trying to explain that a pilot had just landed into his garden and needed help.

He said: "We got a pilot in the house, and I guess he landed in my backyard, and we're trying to see if we could get an ambulance to the house, please."

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But with no progress being made, the pilot soon takes over and repeatedly asks the baffled dispatcher to call for medical help.

Grabbing the phone, he said: "Ma'am, a military jet crashed. I'm the pilot. We need to get rescue rolling.

"I'm not sure where the airplane is. It would have crash landed somewhere. I ejected."

With proceedings still laboured, the pilot makes a second plea for help as his frustrations continue to grow with the female operator.

He said: "Ma'am, I'm a pilot in a military aircraft, and I ejected. So I just rode a parachute down to the ground. Can you please send an ambulance?"

The Marines have described the pilot as an experienced aviator with decades of experience in the cockpit.

He is said to have taken off from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, on Sunday before an unexplained issue forced him to eject.

The flight had been part of a training mission and the pilot was flying in tandem with another jet at the time.

However, following the pilot's unexpected emergency release, the second F-35 pilot returned to base instead of following the empty aircraft, where he managed to land without any problems.

In a separate eight-minute dispatch call released Thursday to the AP, an unidentified said: "The pilot lost sight of the jet on his way down due to the weather."

The official also recalled hearing a "rather loud noise" about 25 minutes prior that "sounded something like a tornado, possibly a plane."

Jeremy Huggins, another spokesman at Joint Base Charleston, revealed the stealth jet's transponder was not working for "reasons we haven't yet determined".

As a result, the base was forced into putting out a humiliating public appeal for help in locating the aircraft.

Mr. Huggins claimed that the aircraft's sophistication made it even more complicated to find.

"The aircraft is stealth, so it has different coatings and different designs that make it more difficult than a normal aircraft to detect," he explained.

One of the main questions on everybody's mind was how the jet kept flying on its own for so long with no pilot.

That was answered by the Marine Corps on Thursday, who claimed that flight control software would have worked to keep it steady if there were no hands on the controls.

Their statement read: "If the jet is stable in level flight, the jet will attempt to stay there.

"If it was in an established climb or descent, the jet will maintain a 1G state in that climb or descent until commanded to do something else.

"This is designed to save our pilots if they are incapacitated or lose situational awareness."

The Marines were also quick to say how features that erase a jet's secure communications in case of an ejection may also have complicated efforts to find it.

"Normally, aircraft are tracked via radar and transponder codes,' the Marines said. "Upon pilot ejection, the aircraft is designed to erase (or 'zeroize') all secure communication."

Other factors such as the power of the jet's radar, the weather at the time, how high the plane was flying and the terrain could all be reasons for air traffic control not being able to pick it up.

By a stroke of luck, the plane didn't crash into a populated area and nobody was left hurt or worse.

The Marines saw a silver lining in this, claiming that the feature which kept the plane flying "appeared to work as advertised", at least.

Nonetheless, the plane was finally found on Monday afternoon in a county only 85 miles north of the base.

The wreckage of the plane was located in a well-tended field, with aerial footage showing debris in a copse beside the field, where trees had been knocked over.

The field had a large area of blackened scorched earth.

Once it was located, a Marine Corps team was dispatched to secure the wreckage and a second team, one that conducts aircraft mishap investigations, was sent to the site.

A South Carolina retiree recalled hearing the plane fly overhead before crashing to local TV channel WCBD.

Randolph White, 72, was shaving in the bathroom when he heard a noise.

He said: "I heard a screeching. Between a screech and a whistle. I said, 'What in the world is this?' And I heard a boom, and my whole house shook."

Randolph initially thought it could have been a meteorite but knew whatever it was, it had to be flying pretty low since his house was "pretty solid, and it shook".

The whole fiasco hasn't gone down well and was described as extremely embarrassing by South Carolina representative, Nancy Mace.

She said there were urgent questions which needed answering as to how one of the world's most sophisticated fighter jets could vanish.

"And guess what: They didn't have any answers," she told local news station WMBF.

"They don't know if the plane is in the air or under the water. They could not tell me the precise location of where the pilot ejected or where the pilot landed.

"And we're talking about an $80 million jet. How does it just disappear? And how does the Pentagon ask for the public's help in finding it?

"It's just a huge embarrassment."


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Several hours later, it was confirmed the plane had been found – although questions remained.

The incident is still under investigation and results from an official review board could take months.

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