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Boaters beware: Coast Guard creates safety zone along Beaufort Co waterway after plane crash

Smoke rises from the site of F35 Marine plane crash, pilot leaves in ambulance

An F35 jet crashed on Little Barnwell Island near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
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An F35 jet crashed on Little Barnwell Island near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

The U.S. Coast Guard in Charleston has established a temporary safety zone on Beaufort-area waters near Little Barnwell Island due to potential hazards left behind from a multi-million dollar Marine Corps Air Station jet airplane crash on Friday.

The safety zone will be in place through Oct. 10, or until salvage operations are complete, on the waters of Whale Branch in the vicinity of Little Barnwell Island, Long Island and Bluff Island, according to a Coast Guard news release.

The zone covers all navigable waters of Whale Branch encompassed within a 1,500-yard radius of position 32°30’32’‘N, 080°47’23’‘W, the release said.

“No one shall enter, transit through, anchor in or remain within the safety zone unless specifically authorized by the COTP or their on-scene designated representative,” the release said.

The pilot in the crash ejected safely from a single-seat Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Marine Corps Training Squadron VMFAT-501 — a unit known as the “Warlords” — around 11:45 a.m.

The pilot was released from the hospital as of Saturday morning, according to Lt. Samuel Stephenson of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. No injuries or damages have been reported.

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