NORFOLK -- Pastor Craig Walker of Upward Church in Norfolk introduced his congregation to Dillon Boone Sunday.
Boone is one of the survivors from the MH-53 Sea Dragon January 8. He wasn't supposed to be part of the crew when the helicopter went down 18 miles off the coast of Virginia. Another HM14 crewman had a pipe burst at home, so Boone filled in for him.
Boone wanted to talk about his ordeal, and he started with describing the moment his helo hit the water.
“As I was undoing my gunner's belt, I remember saying a prayer. It was like, 'Lord, if it's your will to help me live another day, you are going to help me do this, but if not, tell me wife I love her, and forgive me for all my sins,'” said Boone.
You could hear a pin drop in the church as Boone went on to describe the moment he realized he was alive.
“I just remember looking up at the sun," began Boone, pausing as Walker encouraged him to take his time, "and I just remember saying, 'God, thank you for delivering me.'”
Boone and a fellow crewman found a raft drifting nearby. 3 others died in the crash.
“When you go through something like this, you learn a lot about the people that you lost, and I have learned so much about them and how strong they were in their faith. I can move forward kind of for them, trying to be stronger, do it for myself, and do it for them,” Boone said.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.