Tasmanian News

Coronial findings on Hobart kayaker's death

kayak 1

The coroner believes a medical episode may have led to an expert kayaker's drowning on the River Derwent mid-last year.

Anthony Gaiswinkler set out in rough and windy conditions from Marieville Esplanade at Sandy Bay on a kayak described as "sturdy and well-maintained".

TasPorts CCTV footage later showed Mr Gaiswinkler slumped over and drifting in the watercraft before it capsized and he went under, making no attempt to swim.

Coroner Simon Cooper found nothing suspicious and made no recommendations.

"I am conscious of the fact that he had exhibited signs of distress, or perhaps depression, in the lead up to his death. I recognise that some close to him, given his vast experience with sea kayaking, find the notion of his death only explicable in terms of it being due to suicide," the report states.

"However, I am not satisfied to the requisite legal degree that his death was the result of a voluntary and intentional act on his part undertaken with the express intention of ending his own life.

"The CCTV footage, coupled with the evidence of atherosclerotic changes in the heart, suggests to me that it is probable that Mr Gaiswinkler suffered some a loss of consciousness, which led to his entering the water from his kayak and drowning.

"I note that the PFD he was wearing while specifically designed for kayaking, and in good condition, provides no head or neck support to keep the head clear once a person enters the water."

If this story has raised concerns for you, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

 Image: Pexels

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