The US Marine Corps’ (USMC) CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter has crashed into the Arabian Sea en route to the Norfolk-based USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), following training exercises in Djibouti in the Gulf of Aden.
The helicopter ferried 25 personnel onboard, including 17 marines and eight navy sailors, who have been safely rescued, while those sustaining minor injuries during the crash are being treated aboard USS Mesa Verde.
The cause of the crash is yet to be investigated, however, the US Navy stated: "The crash was not a result of hostile activity.
"The aircraft was transferring the marines and sailors back to USS Mesa Verde from training ashore in nearby Djibouti."
Part of Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, the amphibious transport dock vessel USS Mesa Verde had been ordered into the Persian Gulf earlier this summer amid rising distress over the Islamic State terrorist group’s progress on Iraq’s capital, Baghdad.
Powered by three General Electric turbofan engines, the Super Stallion is equipped with an ATK AN/AAR-47 missile warning system, chaff and flare dispensers, and two 0.50-calibre machine guns positioned in the windows on either side.
The helicopter also features a Hamilton Sundstrand automatic flight control system (AFCS), a Rockwell Collins GPS 3A global positioning system and Northrop Grumman AN/APN-217 Doppler radar.
Image: The USMC’s CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter during its landing attempt aboard the USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19). Photo: courtesy of US Navy.