Editor’s note: This article first appeared on AVweb.com.
CNN has obtained the 911 audio of the aftermath of the loss of a Marine Corps F-35B that flew on for 60 miles after the pilot ejected over Charleston, South Carolina, last week.
The audio reveals a few more details of the incident and illustrates a knowledge gap with emergency response personnel on dealing with military aircraft crashes.
The pilot starts out by asking for an ambulance but ends up giving a short course on what happens after an ejection. He did finally get his ambulance ride and was treated in a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.
At one point the operator asks the pilot how far he fell and he replied, “I was at 2,000 feet.” She then asked what had caused the “fall” and he replied “an aircraft malfunction.” He later explained again that he had ejected and “rode a parachute down” to his location in the backyard of a home in North Charleston.
He also told the operator he didn’t know where the plane was and asked if she’d heard any reports of a plane crash in the area. It took the military about 24 hours to find the wreck of the $100 million aircraft, which was the short takeoff and vertical landing version of the fighter.