A wrongful death lawsuit will be filed by Mike Determan, the father of a Marine killed in a helicopter crash last year, claiming the aircraft’s failure was due to design flaws committed by the manufacturer.
The incident that sparked the lawsuit occurred on May 17, 2015, when an MV-22B Osprey went down at the Marine Corps Training Area in Bellows, Hawaii. According to Military.com, the aircraft attempted to land despite severe brownout conditions before suffering significant dust intake and “turbine blade glassification.”
The helicopter crashed shortly after, killing both 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Matthew Determan and 24-year-old Cpl. Joshua Barron. Although there were 20 other Marines aboard the aircraft at the time of the incident, they only sustained injuries of various degrees.
However, the Osprey helicopter has seen multiple issues over the course of its lifespan, including a deadly accident on April 8, 2000, when an Osprey plummeted to the ground while attempting to land at Arizona’s Marana Northwest Regional Airport. The phenomenon, known as the vortex ring state, was found to be responsible for killing all 19 Marines on board in the tragic incident.
Following the Osprey’s most recent crash, the Naval Air Systems Command created a report on the MV-22B Osprey last September, highlighting the various troubling events the aircraft has experienced across the globe. The Bellows location where Determan’s son was killed is also the location of a second “near-miss” incident involving the Osprey, although it ultimately avoided the stall and managed to land safety.
The lawsuit has not been filed, but will be in the coming weeks in Hawaii against the Osprey’s manufacturer Boeing Co. The suit is asking for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. It is currently unknown whether the case will be filed in federal or state court.
“I can tell you that this is an unsafe aircraft,” Mike Andrews, the Beasley Allen attorney representing the deceased veteran’s family, told Military.com. “Our feeling in this case is, our military boys and girls need to have the best equipment possible, and the V-22 is not it. This is a situation in which we feel the Marine Corps, the military in general, is doing the best they can with a defective product. They’ve been sold a bill of goods and they’re trying to work with it. It’s inexcusable.”
Military.com reported Boeing spokeswoman Caroline Hutcheson refused to comment on the pending Osprey litigation.