Cape Town - A member of South Africa’s small over-wintering team on Gough Island in the remote South Atlantic has died after apparently choking to death on food.

The death of electronic technician Johannes Adriaan Hoffman early on Wednesday was announced by the Department of Environmental Affairs.

Spokesman Zolile Nqayi said they had received a report from the medic on the island that Hoffman, who had been found dead in his bed, appeared to have choked to death on food.

“It’s terrible,” Nqayi said.

Hoffman was a member of the 58th Gough over-wintering team and it was his second expedition to the island as a radio technician – he also visited Gough Island in 2008.

The department said he had 15 years’ experience as an electronics technician, developing and maintaining communication systems.

He had also been a member of similar teams in the South African National Antarctic Programme, working at Marion Island in the Southern Ocean and in Antarctica.

The department has sent its condolences to Hoffman’s family. It said psychological counselling sessions would be arranged for the remaining team members.