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Pilot ejects safely after F-35 jet crash near South Carolina coast

The Beaufort County Sheriff's office says the pilot is being evaluated for injuries.

Beaufort, SC (WLTX, AP) - A military jet pilot has ejected safely after a a plane crash in Beaufort County, South Carolina.

The U.S. Marine Corps says an F-35B stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort went down around 11:45 a.m. Beaufort County deputies say the crash site was near Clarendon Road and Joe Allen Drive in Grays Hill.

The military says the pilot ejected from the single-seat aircraft and is being evaluated by local medical personnel. No one on the ground was injured.

Marines from the air station are working with local authorities currently conducting standard mishap operations to secure the crash site and ensure the safety of all personnel in the surrounding area.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

CBS News national security correspondent David Martin says this would be the first crash of the U.S. military's newest and most expensive aircraft. A day earlier, CBS says the Marines announced its first use in combat in Afghanistan.

The crash happened about 3 miles west of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, which is where F-35s are stationed. The aircraft was part of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 (VMFAT-501). A woman answering the phone at the station could not confirm to the Associated Press a crash and said officials aren't releasing any information at this time.

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