At approximately 2:00 p.m. today (GMT) a United States Marine Corps helicopter crashed into the Gulf of Aden as it attempted a landing on the U.S.S. Mesa Verde (LPD 19). The CH-53E Super Stallion was carrying some 25 military personnel at the time of the crash.
The aircraft was in the process of transporting 17 Marines and eight Sailors back to Mesa Verde following an onshore training exercise in Djibouti. Miraculously, there were no fatalities and all injured personnel were treated aboard Mesa Verde. The military news release gave no indication that any of the injuries were life-threatening.
The Norfolk-based amphibious transport dock has been deployed to the region for several months as part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group conducting maritime security operations. Two days ago it was learned that the Bataan ARG, to include the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, received extended deployment orders from the Secretary of Defense. Current orders will see this group return to the U.S. in early October.
There was no hostile activity involved with the incident. Both the Marine Corp and the Navy have launched investigations into the cause of the crash.