Families of Marines killed in 2022 Osprey crash sue Boeing and other manufacturing companies for negligence

The families of four US Marines killed in a 2022 crash of an Osprey aircraft are suing Boeing, Bell Textron Inc. and Rolls Royce, alleging that the companies failed to address known issues with the aircraft that resulted in the crash.

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday, focuses on a MV-22B Osprey crash in June 2022, when five Marines stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California, were killed while conducting a training mission. A Marine Corps investigation determined last July that the accident was caused by a mechanical failure and that there “was no error on the part of the pilots and aircrew and nothing they could have done to anticipate or prevent this mishap.”

“They were conducting routine flight operations in accordance with applicable regulations when this catastrophic and unanticipated mechanical failure occurred,” the Marine Corps said in 2023.

The five Marines killed were Capts. Nicholas Losapio and John Sax;, Cpls. Nathan Carlson and Seth Rasmuson; and Lance Cpl. Evan Strickland.

The lawsuit, filed by the families of Sax, Carlson, Strickland and Rasmuson, accuses Boeing, Bell Textron, Rolls Royce Corps and Rolls Royce North America of negligence, negligent and fraudulent misrepresentation, and the failure to warn.

Tim Loranger, the lawyer representing the families in the lawsuit, told CNN on Thursday that ultimately the lawsuit alleges that the aircraft the Marines were on was known to have a defect but “insufficient steps have been taken to correct it.”

“We allege they had information they didn’t disclose,” Loranger said. “And here we are today as a result.”

Aerial wreckage photo from USMC investigative report - From the US Marine Corps
Aerial wreckage photo from USMC investigative report - From the US Marine Corps

The mechanical failure in June 2023 involved the dual hard clutch engagement, which the Marine Corps said “created a Single Engine and Interconnect Drive System (Single Engine/IDS) failure.” The failure ultimately resulted in an “unrecoverable departure from controlled flight, resulting in the tragic crash.”

“Due to their defective products, breaches of contracts, breaches of warranties, wrongful actions and omissions, the defendants named herein caused the accident and the tragic deaths of Plaintiffs’ decedents, five fine young United States Marines,” the lawsuit says.

Boeing, Bell Textron and Rolls Royce have not yet responded to request for comment from CNN. The lawsuit comes as Boeing has been under scrutiny and is expected to present a plan to fix quality issues on its assembly line next week, after a hole blew open on the side of a Boeing 737 Max mid-flight in January.

The lawsuit comes months after another deadly V-22 Osprey crash off the coast of Japan, which resulted in the deaths of eight US Special Operations airmen. The US military grounded its entire fleet of V-22 Ospreys in December as a result. That grounding guidance was lifted in March this year; officials said at the time an investigation identified a “materiel failure” responsible for the crash.

Col. Brian Taylor, the program manager of the Naval Air Systems Command V-22 joint program office, told reporters in March that the crash resulted from an “unprecedented” component failure, though he declined to say what component specifically failed or how.

The deadly crash near Japan had been the latest in a string of Osprey incidents. In August 2023, three US Marines were killed when a MV-22B Osprey crashed during military exercises in Australia. And in March 2022, just months before the five US Marines were killed in California, four US service members died in a MV-22 crash during a NATO exercise.

Loranger told CNN that it’s unclear whether there is a common thread between the June 2023 crash and the other recent incidents but said the point for the families in the lawsuit is to “get to the bottom of what happened, why did this aircraft crash, why have other Ospreys crashed, and what has been done to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

“It’s making sure when families send their Marines or airmen off to do their job, that they aren’t going to get the knock on their door because something broke in the (aircraft),” he said.

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