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25 May, 2024 03:32

Boeing sued over deaths of US Marines

The aerospace giant co-produced the V-22 Osprey aircraft, which has claimed more than 60 lives over the years
Boeing sued over deaths of US Marines

The families of US servicemen killed in a V-22 Osprey crash in California in 2022 have brought a lawsuit against Boeing, Bell Textron, and Rolls-Royce, accusing them of hiding and failing to correct known reliability issues in their aircraft.

Filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of California, the suit alleges that the three corporations “intentionally, recklessly and/or negligently provided false information about the safety, airworthiness, and reliability of V-22 Osprey aircraft,” its engines, systems, and component parts, according to the court documents.

“The aircraft, as fielded, has failed and continues to fail to meet the government’s safety and reliability specifications and requirements and the aircraft is not safe,” the lawsuit reads.

The incident at issue occurred in southern California on June 8, “on a training mission during the day with good weather,” when a V-22 suffered catastrophic mechanical failure and crashed, killing all five Marines aboard.

The subsequent investigation by the US Marine Corps found 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,” nor any “maintenance error” from the ground crew.

The V-22 Osprey, a relatively recent addition to the US aircraft fleet, is capable of vertical takeoff and landing using its tilting twin proprotors, acting as both airplane-style propellers and helicopter-style rotors, depending on which flight mode the craft is using.

There have been 58 accidents involving Ospreys since 1991, with at least 20 being lost beyond repair and leading to more than 60 fatalities, according to the Flight Safety Foundation statistics. The V-22 gained the nickname ‘widow maker’, having led to 30 deaths before it even entered service in 2007.

The US military temporarily ceased all flights of the aircraft for an investigation in November last year, after a V-22 crashed near Yakushima, Japan, killing eight.

Two months prior, Boeing was ordered to pay $8.1 million to settle allegations that it failed to adhere to critical manufacturing specifications in its V-22 parts production. The claims were brought against the aerospace giant by three whistleblowers who worked at its Ridley Park, Pennsylvania facility.