The 6th Fleet has identified the sailor who died Tuesday evening after a mishap on board the guided-missile cruiser Vella Gulf.

Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Imran Khan was pronounced dead shortly after being airlifted to Naval Support Activity Souda Bay on Crete and then transferred to a local hospital, Iasis, in nearby Chania.

Authorities suspect that Khan fractured his skull after a fall down a ladderwell but the cause of his death remains under investigation.

The Ticonderoga-class warship was underway in the eastern Mediterranean Sea about 180 nautical miles west of Crete when the mishap occurred and he was taken to Crete on a Vella Gulf helicopter.

“The entire Vella Gulf team is saddened and grieving the tragic passing of our Shipmate and Friend, BM2 Imran Khan,” said Capt. Andrew Fitzpatrick, Vella Gulf’s commanding officer, in a release posted by the 6th Fleet.

“A beloved and steadfast member of our Team, his passing has been felt deeply throughout the command. Our hearts are with the entire Khan Family as we extend our deepest sympathy for their loss.”

Kahn enlisted in the Navy in 2007 and reported to Vella Gulf on Veterans Day in 2019. He previously served on the sister cruiser San Jacinto and the guided-missile destroyer Decatur and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 and Submarine Base New London.

His decorations included four Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, two Good Conduct Medals, an Iraq Campaign Medal and a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.

Vella Gulf remains in the Mediterranean Sea as part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group.

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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