LOS ANGELES — FormerSteve Sax, a player, said that his 33-year old son, who had dreamed of becoming a pilot, was one of five U.S. Marines who were killed in a training flight accident earlier this week.
Capt. Capt. John J. Sax was part of the Osprey tiltrotor pilot crew that crashed during training in an area in Imperial County. It was about 115 miles east from San Diego and 50 miles from Yuma in Arizona.
Steve Sax made the following statement: “It is with total devastation that we announce that my precious Son, Johnny, perished Wednesday, June 8th in the Osprey Military accident near San Diego.”. Johnny's bright smile and light were evident to all who knew him. He loved his family, the Marines and the joy of flying planes and protecting his country. He was my hero. There was no better man to defend our country than him.
Sax explained that his son, who had always wanted to fly since he was a child, would talk about the planes while he was in Little League baseball's outfield.
“Johnny knew from a young age that he would become a pilot, and his passion was to fly!” Steve Sax added. “This loss will alter my life forever and is an enormous loss for not only the Marines, it's also for the entire world!”
Steve Sax was a major leaguer from 1981 to 1994. He won two World Series with the Dodgers during his seven-year tenure as second baseman.
John J. Sax of Placer (California) was one of the two pilots who died in the crash. Nicholas P. Losapio (31), Rockingham, New Hampshire.
Three tiltrotor crew chiefs were also killed. Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson (21), Winnebago. Illinois; Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson 21, of Johnson (Wyoming); and Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland is 19, from Valencia, New Mexico.
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 364 was assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 39's Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 364, which is part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing that is headquartered at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
Although the Osprey was a hybrid helicopter and airplane, it flew in both the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan. However, some have criticized it as being unsafe. It has a design that allows it to fly like a helicopter, to rotate its propellers to a horizontal location and to cruise like an airplane.
Investigators are still investigating the cause of the accident.