CFB Esquimalt master seaman Guillermo Morales Castellon has died after he was seriously injured during an industrial accident at 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron in North Saanich.
Castellon, who served with the Canadian Forces for more than 20 years, died on Friday with his spouse by his side, five days after he was rushed to hospital on Nov. 21.
CFB Esquimalt has not released details about the accident but said no other personnel were involved.
The 50-year-old was remembered as a nature lover, who had a passion for cooking and entertaining, according to a statement from his spouse, issued by the Canadian Forces.
“His smile and his warmth made him a man who loved life and cared about people,” said his spouse, who did not want to be named.
"He freely gave his time in service to others and he was always ready to help. His colleagues’ and his loved ones’ well-being were always on his mind. His empathy made him eager to connect with other people,” she said. “We are experiencing a tremendous loss, the loss of a special person blessed with utmost human quality.”
Morales Castellon was committed to his work and to work safety, his spouse said.
“He always made sure everyone was safe before performing a dangerous task or operation. This quality was also reflected in his personal life; he constantly watched over me, regardless of the distance between Montreal and Victoria,” she said.
Morales Castellon joined the army reserve, 2nd Field Artillery Regiment in Montreal in 1995 and moved to the naval reserve three years later, serving with HMCS Donnacona. In 2014, he transferred to the regular forces and was posted to CFB Esquimalt where he was part of the supply team supporting 443 squadron.
Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific, Rear-Admiral Art McDonald, said in a statement that after Morales Castellon immigrated to Canada from Honduras, he spent 22 years serving in the army and naval reserve and as a member of the regular force.
"To his friends and colleagues he was Will, a guy who loved to chat, was extremely likable and who took time to truly connect with people,” McDonald said.
"My condolences go out to the family and friends of MS Morales Castellon, whose spouse was at his side when he passed.”
His spouse said Morales Castellon was rule-oriented and cared about justice and the chain of command.
“He was proactive, always taking initiative and making decisions in order to optimize his work and the work of his unit. Above all, he wanted to foster a good work environment,” she said.
CFB Esquimalt base commander Capt. (Navy) Steven Waddell thanked B.C. Ambulance paramedics and members of the CFB Esquimalt logistics team who came to Morales Castellon’s aid following the accident.
“My deepest sympathies go out to the family, friends and colleagues of Master Seaman Guillermo Morales Castellon during this extremely difficult time; we are all saddened by the loss,” Waddell said.
“Personnel from CFB Esquimalt and the Canadian Armed Forces will continue to provide support to his family while they deal with this tragedy.”
The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service is investigating Morales Castellon’s death and a board of inquiry will be convened to look into the circumstances. A board of inquiry is an internal fact-finding investigation convened in the event of a death of any Canadian Forces member who died for reasons other than wounds received in action.
Similar to a coroner’s inquest, a board of inquiry has the ability to determine facts, make findings, and develop recommendations in order to prevent a similar death.