Five US Marines, including the son of former Los Angeles Dodgers second-baseman Steve Sax were killed when their MV-22B Osprey aircraft crashed in Southern California. The fatal Osprey crash happened on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, at approximately 12:25 p.m. near Coachella Canal Road and Highway 78 outside of Glamis, California.
The U.S. Marines killed in the Osprey military aircraft crash include:
- Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, 21
- Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31
- Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21
- Capt. John J. Sax, 33
- Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland, 19
All of the victims were based in Camp Pendleton and assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 364 under the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. A spokesperson for the Marine Corps. said the men were conducting routine live-fire training exercises over a gunnery range in the Imperial Valley desert when the military aircraft crashed for unknown reasons. An investigation is underway.
Victims of Osprey Crash Identified
The Marine Corps. confirmed that 33-year-old Capt. John J. Sax, son of former Los Angeles Dodgers baseball player, Steve Sax, was one of the five victims. Capt. Sax of Placerville, California was one of the MV-22B pilots killed in the crash. He had served in the Marine Corps. for more than five years and had been awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and a Letter of Appreciation.
"It is with complete devastation that I announce that my precious son, Johnny, was one of the five U.S. Marines that perished," Steve Sax said in a statement. He called his son a "hero and the best man I know."
"For those of you that knew Johnny, you saw his huge smile, bright light, his love for his family, the Marines, the joy of flying airplanes and defending our country," Sax added.
The other pilot aboard the Osprey was Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, of Rockingham, New Hampshire. Capt. Losapio was the longest serving Marine among the five, with nearly nine years of service.
The three other victims were tiltrotor crew chiefs who are responsible for performing duties related to the maintenance and operation of the aircraft. Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, 21, was from Winnebago, Illinois; Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21, was from Johnson, Wyoming; and Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland, 19, was from Valencia, New Mexico.
What is an Osprey Plane-Helicopter Military Aircraft?
The MV-22B Osprey (MV stands for “Marine Vertical”) is a multi-engine, dual-piloted, self-deployable, medium lift, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) tilt-rotor aircraft. Put more simply, the Osprey is a hybrid plane and helicopter designed to take off like a helicopter and tilt its propellers into a horizontal position once airborne to fly like a plane.
Bell Helicopters and The Boeing Company manufacture the Osprey, which can fly faster and longer than helicopters. The Marine Corps., the Navy, and the Air Force use various versions of the Osprey aircraft for the \transport of troops, equipment, and supplies from assault ships and land bases.
The Osprey VTOL has a checkered safety history. Including this crash outside Glamis, California, 51 military service members have been killed in Osprey crashes. The California crash comes just months after another fatal crash in Norway killed that killed four Marines who were participating in the large biannual NATO exercise Cold Response.
What Caused the Southern California Osprey Crash That Killed Five Marines?
Military aircraft crash investigations typically take a year or more to complete, so it will be some time before we know what caused the Osprey crash outside of Glamis, California. The Marine Corps., which is conducting the investigation, announced in the days after the crash that all Marine Aircraft Wing units are set to conduct a one-day safety stand-down between June 21, 2022 and July 1, 2022. The stand-down was ordered in response to the California crash, the Norway crash, and two others since January of 2022.
On June 13, 2022, the Navy grounded all nondeployed aircraft for a day to focus on safety protocols. While the moves by both branches of the military are not unusual, safety stand-downs have in the past come after a spade of consecutive crashes, something that military accident attorney Timothy A. Loranger is concerned about.
“Based on the number of fatal accidents, we believe the V-22 Osprey has safety issues that must be addressed,” says attorney Timothy A. Loranger, a Marine Corps. veteran who currently represents military families in a case stemming from a fatal amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) incident in 2020. “Whether this crash in California was caused by a design or manufacturing issue, or a problem with maintenance, the fact remains that the Osprey has a controversial history of fatal crashes. The families who have lost loved ones need to know why these crashes continue to happen, and that steps are being taken to make avoid these disasters in the future.”
Military Accident Lawyer with Proven Track Record
Attorneys from the award-winning law firm of Wisner Baum handle military aircraft crashes involving American aircraft or parts manufacturers. Unfortunately, a law known as the “Feres Doctrine” forbids military personnel or their surviving family members from suing the U.S. government if the service member is killed or injured during active military service. However, in some instances the manufacturer of the aircraft and its systems may be held liable if the a defective product or negligence that is external to the government was the proximate cause.
If you lost a family member in a military aircraft accident, you should consult with an experienced lawyer with a proven track record as soon as you are able. At Wisner Baum, we can help you through this difficult time and guide you through the legal process. Our lead military aircraft accident attorney, Timothy A. Loranger, and our entire aviation accident team are known for bringing compassion and dedication to every case. Across all areas of practice, our attorneys have won more than $4 billion in verdicts and settlements for clients.
We are available to discuss your case with you at any time. Please call us at (855) 948-5098 or by fill out our contact form for a free and confidential case evaluation.