New footage shows 2017 Osprey chopper crash that killed three MarinesJuly 4, 2022
Disturbing new footage shows moment US Osprey helicopter crashed into USS Green Bay in 2017, killing three young Marines after suffering fatal technical issue
- Footage released this weekend showed the horrific August 2017 Osprey smash that killed three Marines
- It was completing a day of practice missions in Australia when it struck the deck of the USS Green Bay and plunged 30 feet into the Pacific
- The chopper’s co-pilot, 1st Lt. Benjamin Cross, died in the subsequent crash, as did Pfc Ruben Velasco, 19, and Cpl Nathaniel Ordway, 26
- Another 23 Marines who were on board the chopper at the time of the smash were rescued
- A subsequent investigation cleared Cross and his unnamed co-pilot of any wrongdoing, and said technical issues had caused the crash
- Last month, five decorated Marines were killed in an Osprey crash in California, with some branding the accident-plagued choppers flying death-traps
Newly-unearthed footage shows the moment a MV-22 Osprey helicopter crashed over the side of a US warship in 2017, killing three Marines who were on board.
The clip, first posted online Saturday, shows the sophisticated helicopter – which can fly like a plane and hover like a chopper – trying to land on the deck of the US Green Bay of the coast of Queensland, Australia, on August 5, 2017.
But the chopper – which has been plagued by fatal accidents that have killed 51 service personnel since its first flight in 1989 – suddenly drops unexpectedly.
It strikes its left engine compartment off the deck while pitching dramatically, with the sailor who was filming running to safety just as the chopper begins to disappear from view.
Moments later, the Bell-Boeing chopper, – which was carrying 26 members of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 – plunged 30 feet and slammed into the Pacific Ocean.
This is the disturbing moment an MV-22 Osprey helicopter carrying 22 US Marines crashes into the deck of the USS Green Bay, before plunging 30 feet into the Pacific, killing three. The accident happened in August 2017, with footage of the horror emerging over the weekend
Killed in the crash was 1st Lt Benjamin Cross, 26, who was co-piloting the chopper. His co-pilot – a Marine Major – has never been named, but an investigation found neither pilot was at fault
Also killed in the crash where Pfc. Ruben Velasco (left), who turned 19 days before his death, and Cpl Nathaniel Ordway (right) who was 26
A hole in the cockpit of the damaged aircraft quickly saw it flood with water, causing it to sink.
All but three of those service personnel were rescued, with the bodies of three others recovered following a 12 hour search.
Those killed were 1st Lt. Benjamin Cross, 26, of Oxford, Maine, Cpl. Nathaniel Ordway, 21, of Sedgwick, Kansas and Pfc. Ruben Velasco, 19, of Los Angeles.
They were unable to escape the cockpit as it sank.
Cross was co-piloting the aircraft at the time of the crash.
According to Military.com, Cross and Ordway were both assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 out of the Futenma base in Japan.
Velasco – who turned 19 days before his death – served with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, and was based in Camp Pendleton in California.
The final moments of the doomed Osprey were captured by a sailor on the deck of the USS Green Bay. That sailor ran for cover as the chopper began to crash, and the full tragedy was not captured on camera
The Osprey crashed while trying to land on the USS Green Bay (pictured in 2018) during a day of training exercises off the Australian coast
It was based off the USS Bonhomme Richard and had successfully completed multiple flights on the day it crashed
The Osprey had been operating from the USS Bonhomme Richard at the time of the smash, as part of a three-chopper squadron practicing embassy reinforcement, evacuation and casualty drills.
It had successfully completed multiple flights between the Bonhomme, Raspberry Creek base and a third ship called the USS Ashland prior to the fatal crash on the Green Bay.
A Pentagon investigation later concluded that the Osprey had crashed because it faced too much ‘downwash’ – air deflected around its rotors.
That report, seen by The Drive, further revealed that the aircraft had insufficient thrust to hold a hover pattern, and that the Osprey may have been carrying too much weight.
Military officials said that no-one was at fault over the crash, and that the three young Marines killed all died in the line of duty, and not as the result of misconduct.
According to the crash report, the aircraft’s pilot – a Marine Major who has not been named – ‘recognized and attempted to correct a 200-300 foot per minute rate of descent with an application of power using the Thrust Control Lever.’
But their attempt to save the chopper failed. It ended up striking the deck of the Green Bay, damaging a nearby chopper and striking a steel staircase before plunging into the Pacific.
After the crash, Lt. Cross’s father Robert Cross told CBS News that his son had great faith in the safety of the controversial aircraft, even after a 2000 crash in Arizona that killed 19 Marines.
Cross said: ‘He told me that they had so many redundant safety systems in the plane that if one failed there was always a backup.’
Last month, five Marines were killed when another Osprey crashed in the California desert, prompting yet more safety fears over the scandal-hit helicopter series
That helicopter crashed in Imperial County near Highway 78 and the town of Glamis, which is 30 miles north of the Mexican border, and 150 miles east of San Diego.
An investigation into what caused it to go down is ongoing.
Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, of Rockingham, New Hampshire, a pilot; Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21, of Johnson, Wyoming, a crew chief; Capt. John J. Sax, 33, of Placer, a pilot; and Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland, 19, of Valencia, New Mexico, a crew chief,, were confirmed as dead by U.S. Marine Corps on Friday.
Nathan Carlson, a crew chief, was previously confirmed to be among the dead by family on Thursday.
The 21-year-old’s girlfriend Emily Baxter posted a tribute to the Marine on Facebook, writing: ‘My heart is absolutely shattered…I don’t have words to explain what I feel or how badly this is tearing me apart already…he had the biggest heart and was always willing to help somebody if they needed.’
Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, 21, of Winnebago, Illinois was one of the first identified as a victim of the crash
Capt. John J. Sax, 33, of Placer, California, a pilot, had been with the corps for nearly six years and was also decorated with several medals, including the National Defense Service Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; and a Letter of Appreciation.
A helicopter is seen on Wednesday taking off near Glamis, to aid the rescue effort
‘It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of five Marines from the Purple Fox family,’ the squadron’s commanding officer, Lt. Col. John C. Miller, said.
‘It is hard to express the impact that this loss has had on our squadron and its families,’ Miller added. ‘Our primary mission now is taking care of the family members of our fallen Marines and we respectfully request privacy for their families as they navigate this difficult time.’
Rasmuson’s home state of Wyoming had already paid tribute to him by flying their flags at half mast Friday.
His father told The Mercury News that Rasmuson grew up hunting, fishing and camping and loving the outdoors.
Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, of Rockingham, New Hampshire, a pilot, was the longest tenured Marine among the five that died, having served nearly nine years
Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland, 19, of Valencia, New Mexico, a crew chief, was the youngest member who lost their life
Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21, of Johnson, Wyoming, a crew chief, was already being mourned back home in Wyoming Friday with the lowering of flags to half mast
Losapio was the longest tenured Marine among the five that died, having served nearly nine years.
He had been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal; a Navy Unit Commendation; the National Defense Service Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; the Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; and a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
Sax had been with the corps for nearly six years and was also decorated with several medals, including the National Defense Service Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; and a Letter of Appreciation.
Strickland served for just over a year and a half but despite that and his young age, still came away with the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
California Governor Gavin Newsom also called for flags to be lowered at the State Capitol on Friday to honor the fallen Marines.
The Marines were based at Camp Pendleton and assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 364 of Marine Aircraft Group 39, part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing headquartered at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
The Marines were participating in routine live-fire training over their gunnery range in the Imperial Valley desert, said Marine Maj. Mason Englehart, spokesperson for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
The Osprey, a hybrid airplane and helicopter, flew in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but has been criticized by some as unsafe. It is designed to take off like a helicopter, rotate its propellers to a horizontal position and cruise like an airplane.
Versions of the aircraft are flown by the Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force.
Prior to Wednesday´s crash, Osprey crashes had caused 46 deaths, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Most recently, four Marines were killed when a Marine Corps Osprey crashed on March 18 near a Norwegian town in the Arctic Circle while participating in a NATO exercise.
The military also announced equipment recovery has begun at the site and the investigation is ongoing.
The crash was confirmed by Naval Air Facility in El Centro on Wednesday, who investigated the crash.
The crash happened about 12.25pm local time, said 1st Lt. Duane Kampa, a 3rd MAW spokesman.
Footage from News 11 Yuma showed military personnel and first responders gathering in the desert, with a helicopter flying off to the crash site. Smoke could be faintly seen on the horizon.
There were rumors the plane had been carrying nuclear material when it crashed, but that has since been debunked.
‘Contrary to initial reports, there was no nuclear material on board the aircraft.’
The MV-22B Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft, built by Boeing, which can carry 24 Marine combat troops, according to Military.com.
Boeing says it is ‘a joint service multirole combat aircraft’ which has both the vertical performance of a helicopter and the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft.
‘With its rotors in vertical position, it can take off, land and hover like a helicopter,’ Boeing explain.
‘Once airborne, it can convert to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight.
Death-trap Osprey ‘copters have killed 51 service personnel since first test flight in 1989
1989 – The first prototypes flew in March, and the second in September.
1991-2 – The fourth and fifth prototypes crashed, with five dying in the Potomac River when the fifth crashed in July 1992, and the aircraft was modified as a result.
Apr 2000 – An Osprey crashed during a night training exercise at Marana Regional Airport near Tucson, Arizona, killing all 19 Marines on board. The fleet was grounded after what remains the worst Osprey accident to date.
Dec 2000 – Another Osprey crashed during training near Jacksonville, North Carolina, killing four Marines.
Dec 2005 – The Marine Corps received its first batch of combat-ready Ospreys, which officially entered service in 2007.
Apr 2010 – Four people are killed when an Osprey crashes in Zabul province in southern Afghanistan.
Apr 2012 – Two Marines die when an Osprey crashes in the Draa River in Morocco.
Oct 2014 – One killed in a crash in the Arabian Gulf.
May 2015 – Two killed in an Osprey accident in Hawaii.
Aug 2017 – Three Marines killed off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
Mar 2022 – An MV-22B crashed in Norway during a training exercise, killing four.
June 2022 – Five decorated Marines die when an Osprey crashes in the Californian desert
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