Fighter jet crashes in Beaufort County; 2 Marines eject, survive

Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 3:46 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 4, 2022 at 9:33 AM EST
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BEAUFORT, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - Authorities say two pilots are safe after a military plane crashed in Beaufort County Thursday afternoon.

Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort said it happened Thursday afternoon as the F/A-18D Hornet was on a routine flight. Officials said the jet crash caused a brushfire in an unpopulated area near Beaufort.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office said the crash happened shortly after 3 p.m. near Halfmoon Island/Coosaw Plantation in Lobeco.

Sarah Sanford Rauch, the sister of former Gov. Mark Sanford, says she saw the jet’s engine catch fire and turn nose-down toward the ground. She and her brother John went searching on the family’s Coosaw Plantation property and found the two Marines who had ejected. She says both were able to walk on their own.

Deputies said they had been in contact with the pilot and co-pilot, and both are safe.

The federal government is investigating the cause of the crash, the sheriff’s office said.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.