LOBECO, S.C. (WSAV) – A military plane crashed in Beaufort County, South Carolina, Thursday afternoon during a routine flight.
According to the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort, both Marines onboard safely ejected with no injuries.
“They were walking and they were being evaluated by EMTs at the scene,” said Maj. Bob Bromage with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO).
The F/A-18D Hornet, a jet aircraft, came down around 3:15 p.m. in the Lobeco area near Half Moon Island Road and Coosaw Plantation Drive.
“It’s uninhabited, it’s a wooded area, so again, that’s fortunate it went down where it did,” Bromage said.
Daniel Rich, who lives in the area, said he was reading when he heard the jet. From his porch, he saw two parachutes come down from the aircraft.
“A huge boom came up and then a column and fire and smoke rose up about 400 feet,” Rich said. “We called 911 right away.”
Living near the air base, Rich said aircraft are often flying in the area — but there is always a concern.
“You know, we’re always kind of holding our breath a little bit when we see the jets…just for the safety of the pilots that are flying them,” he said.
According to MCAS Beaufort, the aircraft is assigned to Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533. The F/A-18 Hornet is used by the Navy and Marine Corps as a fighter and attack aircraft (i.e. F/A).
Officials said a safety investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the crash.
“For public safety, people should avoid the area and local residents should remain indoors to the maximum extent possible as there is smoke from both the aircraft and a brushfire. Air station fire and emergency services are on scene,” read a statement from MCAS Beaufort Capt. Wes Jones.
A military plane last crashed in a residential Beaufort area in 2018; the pilot was not injured. The F-35 Lightning came down roughly 10 miles from Thursday afternoon’s crash site.