HomeWorldSouth Carolina retiree goes viral for impression of F-35 crash
South Carolina retiree goes viral for impression of F-35 crash
September 20, 2023
An animated retiree is going viral for his vivid impression of the moment a missing F-35 stealth jet crashed near his rural South Carolina home like “a meteorite” from “outer space.”
Wearing a straw hat in his Williamsburg County front yard, Randolph White, 72, told a local NBC affiliate that he was “in the bathroom taking a shave” Sunday when a piercing noise filled the “nice and quiet and peaceful” area.
“And I heard a screeching,” he recalled. “Between a screech and a whistle.”
White then gamely mimicked the noise, producing a long, rich squeal that some online have likened to prime James Brown.
“I said, ‘What in the world is this?’” White recalled thinking. “And I heard a boom! Then my whole house shook.”
The longtime local — who retired from a nearby paper mill about a decade ago — said he didn’t realize that the sound was coming from a $90 million F-35 jet that had gone missing after its pilot ejected due to a still-unexplained “mishap.”
“I said well, did a meteorite come from outer space or something?” White recalled, his voice rising at the shock of it all.
“And I said, well if it was an airplane, it needs to be reported because that thing was flying just too low,” he said. “I knew it was low because my house is pretty solid, and it shook.”
A day passed before he heard helicopters buzzing overhead Monday evening, and White did not immediately make a connection to the wild noise he had heard so vividly.
Instead, he thought the police activity was because “somebody must have robbed a bank” or “killed some people or whatever.”
“So, I walked up there, and they told me it was about the plane,” he said.
White said he was thankful no one was hurt — and noted that there was a small church just down the road that could have easily been struck by the plane.
“Anything manmade can malfunction,” he said. “You try to give them the benefit of the doubt. But it needs to be investigated and the public needs to know what really happened. You know, it shouldn’t be kept a secret what happened. Because, you know, it could’ve been a major disaster.”
The clip of White’s animated recreation quickly went viral online, with Barstool Sports calling it “an ALL TIME recreation of the F-35 crash.”
“Mr Randolph White has just recreated the ‘Reeeeeee’, and it is EVERYTHING,” tweeted Bree Dail of the Daily Wire, while another X user wrote: “A star and meme are born!”
Officials have not given an official cause for the crash as of Wednesday.
The pilot, who has not been identified, was located in a residential area in North Charleston on Sunday afternoon and taken to a local hospital for treatment.
He is understood to have left the jet on autopilot when he ejected — sparking a desperate, embarrassing hunt that included the military appealing to locals to help find the aircraft.