Scottish soldier dies while on holiday in Florida

Shaun Cole had recently returned from Sierra Leone in the fight against Ebola. Picture: Ross Fernie
Shaun Cole had recently returned from Sierra Leone in the fight against Ebola. Picture: Ross Fernie

A Scottish soldier has died while on holiday in Florida.

It is understood the 22-year-old from Edinburgh died after suffering blunt force trauma to the head in Miami.

He had been visiting Florida with two friends for the Ultra dance music festival.

The victim has been named locally as Private Shaun Cole, a soldier who had completed two tours of Afghanistan.

He had returned from a tour of Sierra Leone last month with the Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, supporting the fight against Ebola.

His body was found on a Miami street by an early-morning shopper on Sunday morning.

The street was cordoned off for hours while a major investigation was launched.

Jamie Lothian, who had travelled to Florida with Mr Cole and friend Sean Ward, took to Facebook this morning to write a heartfelt post about him.

He said: “It’s killing me inside to write this but still can’t get my head round any of it!

“I’ve not only lost one of my best friends but a brother and there is not a moment for the rest of my life that I’ll never stop thinking about you bro!

“Thanks everyone for the support coz I canny even explain what we are going through over here.”

A UK Foreign Office spokesman said: “We can confirm the death of a British National in Florida.

“We stand ready to provide consular assistance to the family at this difficult time.”

Police have said they are still establishing whether his death was an accident or murder.

A local man raised the alarm after finding Mr Cole’s body on Biscayne Boulevard, Miami.

Mr Cole and his friends had been staying several streets away, at the Royal Motel.

A witness told an American news channel that he saw Mr Cole running along the street with blood running from his ears before collapsing on the street.

Detectives are appealing for witnesses to assist their inquiries.