Brandon South ID'd as CFB Esquimalt sailor found dead in Tanzanian hotel

A Canadian sailor based at CFB Esquimalt near Victoria who died in hospital in Tanzania Monday has been identified.

Sonar operator was en route to Canada for scheduled leave

HMCS Regina sonar operator Brandon South was en route to Canada for a scheduled leave period. (Cpl. Stuart MacNeil)

A Canadian sailor based at CFB Esquimalt near Victoria who died in hospital in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, has been identified.

Leading Seaman Brandon South died Monday while on leave from his position as a sonar operator on HMCS Regina, which is currently operating in the Indian Ocean.

Department of Defence chief spokesperson Daniel Le Bouthillier said the sailor was en route to Canada for a scheduled leave when he was found unconscious in a Dar Es Salaam hotel and taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Canadian military police are working with authorities in Dar Es Salaam to investigate the circumstances surrounding South's death. 

Le Bouthillier said in an email to CBC that South's death was "not operationally related."

HMCS Regina is currently conducting counter-terrorism operations in the Indian Ocean. A sailor from the ship on shore leave was discovered dead in his hotel room in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. (Cpl. Rick Ayer/DND)

“I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the friends and family of Leading Seaman South. His presence will be dearly missed by all the ship’s company of HMCS Regina,” said Daniel Charlebois, commanding officer of HMCS Regina.

The Canadian Armed Forces is currently participating with partners and allies in Operation ARTEMIS, a maritime security and counter-terrorism operation in the Arabian Sea designed to enhance maritime security in the Middle East.

In January, a Halifax sailor died in somewhat similar circumstances while off duty. The body of Lt. Andrew F. Webster was discovered in his hotel room in the Seychelles, an island country in the Indian Ocean, north of Madagascar.

At the time, Canadian Forces ruled his death as accidental, saying there was no foul play and it wasn't combat-related, but never revealed the exact cause of death.

With files from James Cudmore