Updated: Friday, 30 Nov 2012, 10:51 AM EST
Published : Friday, 16 Mar 2012, 6:34 PM EDT
PORTSMOUTH, va. (WAVY) - The officers and crew of the USS Enterprise knew they would be tested on the final deployment of the "Big E", but they probably didn't expect that test to come so soon.
A member of the flight deck crew went overboard in the pre-dawn hours of March 15.
A Navy journalist aboard the USS Enterprise captured video of the rescue helicopter returning to the ship with the sailor that went overboard.
Helicopter pilot LCDR Michael Margolius said, "From take off to landing was 13 minutes. From the time that we received the 'man overboard' call till we landed was a total of 26 minutes"
Which is pretty remarkable when you consider the fact that the chopper wasn't even in the air when the incident happened - flight operations hadn't started yet.
"This was 5:35 in the morning, so I was where we should be, fast asleep," Margolius added.
Once in the air, calm seas and clear weather allowed the rescue crew to locate their shipmate just minutes into the search.
During nighttime rescues, the swimmer is lowered into the water to avoid losing him and the victim in the dark. Rescue swimmer Petty Officer Graham Harrison, a Norfolk native, said everything went smoothly.
"Clayton Miller, the crew chief, lowered me down then the arm beam hooked up. I basically just strapped him and got him back up pretty quick," Harrison said.
Once onboard, the sailor was wrapped in a blanket and taken to the ship's medical unit. He was reported to be in good condition.
Harrison added, "He said he was fine, just a little cold...no injuries."
The search and rescue crew train extensively for incident like this one, but most of their experience, until now, was limited to that training.
Magolius explained, "I've done a handful of alert launches...but this is my first time actually recovering a sailor."
"You know, our job comes from someone else's misfortune, so nothing to really brag about I guess," Harrison said.
The Navy has not released the identity of the rescued sailor, but said he fell about 30 feet from an aircraft elevator into the water. The sailor was about two miles from the ship when he was found.
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