As reported in the Penticton Western News, Walter Eugene Wiwchar’s passing at last year’s Ironman Canada was officially ruled to be death by drowning with a heart condition being a factor.
Coroner Michael Barrett noted that significant in the findings was the acute dissection of the descending arch or the aorta.
“This would have precipitated the death in having caused Mr. Wiwchar severe physical distress resulting in him drowning,” said Barrett, who ruled the death accidental.
The 66-year old from Fort Saskatchewan, was only a few hundred metres from the swim finish when he was observed to be in difficulty.
“The kayaker provided assistance within seconds and the unconscious swimmer was subsequently placed into a rescue boat and transported to a pre-arranged emergency drop site,” said Barrett.
The coroner noted that numerous emergency marine craft were used to patrol the swim course to assist any swimmer experiencing difficulty, and did not make any recommendations. Nevertheless, Ironman Canada will review their safety management procedures for the swim segment for its future races.