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'Miracle at sea': 25 survive Marine copter crash

By Brad Lendon, CNN
updated 10:42 AM EDT, Wed September 3, 2014
A U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E helicopter prepares to land on the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde last month.
A U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E helicopter prepares to land on the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde last month.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Marine Corps CH-53E crashed into Gulf of Aden
  • Only minor injuries among 25 aboard
  • Warship's Facebook page filled with thanks, relief, well-wishes

(CNN) -- The Facebook page of the USS Mesa Verde was filled with dozens of well-wishes and thanks to God on Tuesday, a day after 25 Marines and U.S. Navy sailors survived the crash of a Marine Corps CH-53E helicopter as it tried to land on the amphibious transport dock in the open sea.

"THANK YOU GOD!!! FOR THE MIRACLE AT SEA!!!" Audie Mangola wrote on the ship's Facebook page.

"It is great news that they are all ok. I guess my grandson will have a tale to tell when he gets home!" Annie Stephens wrote in a post.

It's "an absolute blessing" that everyone survived, U.S. 5th Fleet spokesman Lt. Joe Hontz told Stars and Stripes. "The team on the Mesa Verde and everyone else came together and saved 25 people."

There were minor injuries in the crash, but all were treated aboard the Mesa Verde, the Navy said in a statement.

Seventeen Marines and eight Navy sailors were aboard the 16-ton Super Stallion copter, which was part of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. It fell into the Gulf of Aden as it was taking troops back to the Mesa Verde after a training exercise in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, the Navy said.

The crash was not related to any hostile activity, the Navy said. Both Marine and Navy officials were investigating.

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