Osprey crash killed 5 Marines, now their families seek justice and answers

Nearly two years after five U.S. Marines died in an Osprey crash, four of the families filed a lawsuit accusing the plane’s manufacturer of negligence.

The federal lawsuit alleges that two systems failed on the aircraft, which could have contributed to the June 8, 2022 crash that killed Capt. John J. Sax, Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson and Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland.

The lawsuit filed last week in California also alleges that the maker of the aircraft, Bell Textron and Boeing, and the maker of its engine, Rolls-Royce, failed to make “truthful statements to the government and to service members about the design, operation, and safety of V-22 Osprey aircraft.”

Amber Sax whose 33-year-old husband died in the crash wants answers.

“Our military members deserve equipment and aircraft free of failures, especially failures that can cause the loss of their lives,” Sax said in a statement obtained by Newsweek.

The families of four of the five victims killed in a 2022 Osprey crash are suing the manufacturers. Top left is Capt. John J. Sax, bottom left is Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, center is Lance…

Wisner Baum Law Firm

Newsweek reached out to Boeing, Bell Trexton, and Rolls-Royce for comment. All three companies said they could not comment on pending litigation.

The U.S. military reported four fatal Osprey crashes from March 2022 to November 2023, resulting in 20 deaths. The military grounded its entire 400 fleet of V-22 Ospreys after eight airmen were killed in a crash last November. The order was lifted in March and Ospreys are slowly returning to service.

The Marines killed in the June 8, 2022 crash were members of Camp Pendleton’s Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 364 based in Oceanside, California.

Brett Strickland, whose son Evan died in the crash, is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

“We don’t want other families to get a knock on the door in the middle of the night,” Strickland told NBC News.

Tim Loranger, the lawyer representing the families, said in a press release that the companies who made the aircraft “asserted that this aircraft and all of its systems are safe, yet the facts keep telling a different story.”

Investigators said the crash occurred when the plane experienced something called a dual “hard clutch engagement,” which is when the “clutch releases from the rotor system and suddenly reengages.” It can cause the plane to drop suddenly. The plane’s black box was destroyed in the fire caused by the crash.

The lawsuit mentions the clutch issue and alleges the aircraft also had an issue with the Interconnect Drive System, which transfers power from one rotor engine to both rotors if the other engine fails. The lawsuit says the system is “defective and unreasonably dangerous.”

The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey is a military aircraft that combines the vertical performance of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft.