The following is the command investigation into the March 13, 2022 crash of a MV-22B Osprey in Norway.
From the investigation
1. The findings of fact, opinions and recommendations of the investigating officer are approved. The investigation is closed.
2. On 18 March 2022, an MV-223 from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 (VMM-261), call sign “Ghost 31,” crashed into the steep side of a valley near Bodø, Norway during Exercise COLD RESPONSE. The mishap resulted in the tragic and untimely deaths of Corporal Jacob M. Moore, Gunnery Sergeant James W. Speedy, Captain Ross A. Reynolds, and Captain Matthew J. Tomkiewicz.
3. Any accident that results in the death of a Marine demands an investigation that is both exhaustive and transparent. In order to achieve this in the aftermath of the Ghost 31 mishap, I appointed two highly-experienced investigating officers. [REDACTED] as already commanded a squadron and is currently slated to command a Marine Aircraft Group. He was assisted by [REDACTED] an MV-22B pilot with extensive tactical knowledge of the aircraft who has served as both a squadron operations and maintenance officer. Both investigating officers are Weapons and Tactics Instructors. They traveled to Norway to inspect the crash site, reviewed hundreds of pages of documents and conducted extensive interviews. During their investigation, they looked closely at aircrew readiness, aircraft maintenance, squadron planning and procedures, and external and environmental factors such as weather. Lastly, they carefully reconstructed the final moments of the flight in order to reach conclusions about what exactly happened to Ghost 31, and why. They produced a very thorough and insightful investigation.
4. The investigation focused first on causal factors for the mishap. A causal factor is an error that can be directly tied to the accident and without which the accident would not have occurred. The investigation shows, from the recovered video and flight data, that
the causal factor for the Ghost 31 mishap was pilot error. Though we cannot determine which pilot was at the controls, it is clear that the aircraft made a series of maneuvers through the Grátádalen Valley that caused a loss of altitude, airspeed, and turning-room from which Ghost
31 was unable to recover.
5. The investigation also explored five other factors to determine if they contributed to the mishap: weather and environmental factors, procedures for low-altitude training, errors in maintenance paperwork, inexperience in mountainous environments, and the use of recording devices. While there were errors of commission and failures to adhere to procedure, none of the five factors investigated were causal or could reasonably be considered contributory.
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