All 25 U.S. military personnel survive helicopter crash near Horn of Africa

WASHINGTON (USA TODAY)— A U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter assigned to the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit crashed at sea Monday in the Central Command area of operations, the Navy said.

All 25 persons aboard the helicopter, 17 Marines and eight Navy sailors, were safely recovered and are aboard USS Mesa Verde, according to a Navy statement.

"Three individuals are reported to have sustained non-life threatening injuries in the crash," the press release states.

The crash was not a result of "hostile activity," the press release states. The aircraft was transferring the Marines and sailors back to USS Mesa Verde from training ashore in nearby Djibouti.

The Navy and Marine Corps plan to investigate the cause of the crash.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the USS Mesa Verde, an amphibious transport dock ship based at Norfolk, Va., into the Persian Gulf earlier this summer as concern grew over the Islamic State terrorist group's advance on Iraq's capital, Baghdad.

The ship transports and lands Marines and other troops, their equipment and supplies, aided by helicopters and vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.


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