THE ANGELS — Former Los Angeles Dodgers player Steve Sax said in a statement that his 33-year-old son, who had always dreamed of becoming a pilot, was one of five U.S. Marines killed in a training flight accident in the California desert earlier this week. .
Captain John J. Sax was among the crew of an Osprey tiltrotor aircraft that crashed during training in a remote area of Imperial County, about 115 miles (185 kilometers) east of San Diego and about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Yuma , Arizona.
“With utter devastation, I can announce that my precious son, Johnny was one of five United States Marines who were killed in the Osprey Military crash near San Diego on Wednesday, June 8,” said Steve Sax in a statement published Saturday. by CBSLA. -TV.
“For those of you who knew Johnny, you saw his big smile, bright light, his love for his family, the marines, the joy of flying airplanes and defending our country! He was my hero and the best man I know, there was no better person to defend our country.”
The former Dodger said his son wanted to be a pilot since he was young and would talk about the types of planes that flew over while playing in the outfield in Little League baseball.
“From an early age there was never any doubt that Johnny would become a pilot and his passion was to fly!” the statement said. “This loss will change my life forever and is a loss not only to the Marines but to this world!”
Steve Sax played in the Major Leagues from 1981 to 1994, winning two world championships during his seven years as a second baseman with the Dodgers. Fans, Major League Baseball and the team expressed their condolences on social media.
“The Los Angeles Dodgers are saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Sax’s son, John, and the five Marines who lost their lives in this week’s tragic helicopter crash. Our thoughts and condolences go out to their families and friends,” the Dodgers said in a tweet Saturday.
John J. Sax is survived by his wife, Amber, who is pregnant with their second child, and their 20-month-old daughter, Dodgers spokesman Steve Brener said.
Sax, of Placer, California, was one of two pilots killed in the crash, along with Captain Nicholas P. Losapio, 31, of Rockingham, New Hampshire.
Three heads of the tiltrotor crew were also killed: Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson, 21, of Winnebago, Illinois; cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson, 21, of Johnson, Wyoming; and Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland, 19, of Valencia, New Mexico.
The Marines were based at Camp Pendleton and assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 364 of Marine Aircraft Group 39, part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing headquartered at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
The Osprey, a hybrid aircraft and helicopter, flew in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but has been criticized by some as unsafe. It is designed to take off like a helicopter, turn the propellers to a horizontal position and cruise like an airplane.
The cause of the crash was investigated.