NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – One of the survivors of last month’s Navy helicopter crash spoke publicly for the first time Sunday morning. Dylan Boone spoke at Upward Church in Norfolk.
“[I] wasn’t supposed to be flying that day,” Boone said. “But one of the crew, his pipes burst at his house. I was the only one at squadron, crew-wise, so I just filled in. “
That was Jan. 8. Boone and four other men climbed into an MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter for routine training. Only two of them made it back.
Boone was still inside the helicopter when it crashed into the water off Virginia Beach.
“I said a prayer, ‘Lord, if it’s Your will to see me through this, You’ll get me through this. But if You’re going to take me with You, then just let my wife know that I love her, and please forgive me for all my sins.'”
Boone saw a blue light, and swam toward it. He made it to the surface.
“In that time, you want to be the person that saves people,” he said. “I think everyone who does our job envisions that, and when something like that happens, you want to save your brother, the people you fly with.”
But Boone was injured, and the frigid water made it hard to swim.
“I held onto whatever I could find, like a 4×3 piece of the aircraft. I remember it was still warm,” Boone said. “We didn’t know if help was coming.”
Help did come in time for Boone. Doctors used 200 stitches and staples to reattach his scalp to his skull. His rotator cuff is torn, and his lung had partially collapsed, but he’s alive.
Lieutenant Wesley Van Dorn and Petty Officer 3rd Class Brian Collins died after they were rescued. Divers later found the body of Lieutenant Sean Snyder.
“It’s three really good men. I’m still here for a reason, and the way I ease my mind with it is I think they were living their lives right when they went,” Boone said. “They’re with me right now, and I’m just trying to live my life. And I’m better for them.”