A sailor died Tuesday evening after he fell down a ladderwell and fractured his skull on board the guided-missile cruiser Vella Gulf, according to official Navy records.

The Ticonderoga-class warship was underway in the eastern Mediterranean Sea about 180 nautical miles west of Souda Bay on the Greek island of Crete.

A helicopter from the cruiser began flying the second class petty officer to shore at 9:43 p.m. Eastern European Standard Time but the sailor was pronounced dead upon arrival in Souda Bay, records indicate.

The Rota, Spain-based commander of Task Force 65 and the U.S. diplomatic attaché in Greece are preparing the return of the sailor’s remains and his next of kin is being notified.

The Pentagon withholds the release of a deceased sailor’s name until 24 hours following notification, a policy honored by Navy Times.

Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Comer, a 6th Fleet spokesman, told Navy Times that the mishap is under investigation.

Prine came to Navy Times after stints at the San Diego Union-Tribune and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

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