Hope Hodge Seck
January 29, 2016
A screen grab of a video showing the May 17, 2015, crash involving an MV-22 Osprey at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, Hawaii. The accident claimed the lives of two Marines and injured 20 other troops on board. (Defense Department video)The moments before landing are eerily calm.
Caught on shaky hand-held video, two MV-22B Ospreys appear over a ridge of hills. The first Osprey turns in toward a small landing zone near a chain link fence, its rotors facing skyward for a vertical descent. As it comes within meters of touchdown, a choking cloud of brown dust billows up from the ground, completely obscuring the aircraft from view. The dust cloud grows even larger and more expansive, and the Osprey appears once again, ascending briefly. It hovers for mere seconds above the brownout, and a tongue of flame appears to shoot from its left nacelle.
Then, its rotors still spinning, the aircraft simply drops out of the sky, crumpling on impact as the right rotor tears free and chews the dirt.
The circumstances of this May 17, 2015, crash, which claimed the lives of two Marines and injured the other 20 troops on board at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, Hawaii, are laid out through the accounts of eyewitnesses in a 2,200-page command investigation obtained by Military.com. The investigation recommends disciplinary or administrative action for the pilots and some aircrew of the aircraft and for Lt. Col. Andreas Lavato, the squadron commander for Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161, to which the Osprey was attached, and Col. Vance Cryer, commander of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which housed the squadron.
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