"Crash."

Professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, left, in a ceremonial gesture, hands a Sony PlayStation 3 game console to Ralph Cleary, who was the first in line at a Best Buy store in Los Angeles on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2006. Cleary said he had been waiting in line outside the store to buy a PlayStation 3 game console since Tuesday. The consoles went on sale at midnight Friday. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

CBS News has obtained footage of last April's deadly crash of a Marine V-22 Osprey, the plane that takes off like a helicopter, flies like a plane and has been the source of controversy for a year.

In two Osprey accidents in 2000, 23 people died. Some of their families are suing the aircraft's makers, Bell Textron and Boeing.
The Osprey test squadron commander was fired earlier this year after getting caught on tape telling pilots to falsify maintenance data. A General Accounting Office report found that the Marines had rushed tests of the aircraft. And an email obtained by CBS News from one Marine general to another described Osprey performance data as information that should be "closely held."

This week, a Pentagon review panel determined that the Osprey program was flawed but should continue, albeit at a slower pace until design problems are addressed.

The footage of the April 8 crash, in which 19 Marines died, was taken from a camera in the cockpit of a second Osprey and a camera on the ground.

The Paper Trail
Click here to read the anonymous letter outlining the charges of falsified reports on the Osprey, received by the Secretary of the Navy on Jan. 12.

Click here to read a copy of the email sent from Brigadier General James Amos to Lt. General Fred McCorkle, Deputy Commandant of Marine aviation, discussing maintenance information that should be "close-held.".

The mission up to that point had been routine. The two tilt rotor aircraft, loaded with Marines, were out to test the capabilities of the Osprey near the Marana Northwest Regional Airport, about 25 miles northwest of Tucson, Ariz.

But according to the accident investigation, the pilots descended too rapidly into the landing zone, causing the rotors to lose lift.

The accident investigation also found the fireball was caused by exploding fuel. The probe found the fuel tanks' ability to withstand a crash had not been tested under realistic conditions.

The crash and explosion appears as a fireball in the night sky.

"Oh my God, they went down," said a pilt of the second Osprey. "They crashed. Oh my God."

"Crash. Crash. Crash. Crash," a pilot said.

"Confirm crash seven. Is that for real?" a controller answered.

"Crash. Crash. Crash. It's real man. An airplane on the ground," the pilot replied.

Marines watching on the ground were helpless, their voices also caught on tape.

"Can't do anything," said one.

"Take it easy. I'm not going out there," said another.

"They're dead, aren't they?" asked the first.

"Yes," came the reply.

"Damn," said the first Marine.

A second investigation has concluded the Osprey is simply not ready to fly at night, not even ready to carry passengers.

Without major changes, that investigation warned, the Osprey program would be "setting people up to fail."

The Marine Corps has blamed a December crash that killed four people on the aircraft's computer software and a flaw in the flight control system that it had been aware of for at least 18 months.



© MMI Viacom Internet Services Inc. All Rights Reserved
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

Comments

Follow Us

On Twitter