Navy personnel prepare the MC-8C Fire Scout for launch aboard the littoral combat ship USS Coronado. Navy photo

An unmanned MQ-8B Fire Scout helicopter crashed into the side of USS Charleston after taking off from the littoral combat ship on Monday afternoon.

The Navy said the San Diego-based ship was training in the western Pacific Ocean when the helicopter crashed into the ship’s side and the sunk. No personnel were injured in the mishap.

Damage to the ship is being assessed, but appears to be limited to an area above the waterline, the Navy said, adding that the Charleston is continuing operations.

The 32-foot-long craft was assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21 based
out of Naval Air Station North Island.

The Fire Scout — 31.7 feet long and nearly 10 feet tall — fell into the sea and was not recovered. The incident damaged a safety net on the ship and struck the hull.

The cause of the mishap is under investigation.

The Fire Scout was assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21 based out of Naval Air Station North Island, located at the north end of the Coronado peninsula. It was assigned to Charleston as part of its current mission.

Updated at 2:43 p.m. April 27, 2021

— City News Service contributed to this report.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.