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Great Salt Lake kayaker's cause of death still pending

Published July 14, 2013 5:08 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

State park authorities were waiting Sunday for the state medical examiner's office to determine what caused the death of a kayaker near Antelope Island State Park.

Assistant Park Manager John Sullivan said Massachusetts resident James Gahran, 53, was discovered Saturday floating about a 10th of a mile from the park marina by some motorists who were leaving the island on the causeway.

Sullivan said the motorists spotted a red kayak in the water with nobody around it. They thought it odd and pulled over. They then spotted a body in the water about 100 feet away.

The motorists returned to the park, and the first person they saw was the owner of the kayak shop. The owner jumped into the water, swam out and pulled the man to shore, Sullivan said.

Authorities performed CPR, but Gahran could not be revived. He was pronounced dead at the scene, Sullivan said.

Gahran was not wearing a life vest, though he had one in the kayak, Sullivan said. He said the man had rented the kayak from the shop about 2:45 p.m. His body was found by the motorists about 3:30 p.m.

He said officials are waiting for the medical examiner to determine what caused Gahran's death — whether he drowned or might have suffered from some medical issue .

Some initial information provided immediately after the incident was incorrect.

jstecklein@sltrib.com

Twitter @sltribjanelle