By Associated Press - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

DAWSON, Pa. (AP) - A coroner and state police say a 61-year-old man has died after his kayak capsized on a southwestern Pennsylvania river known for its whitewater rapids.

The Fayette County coroner’s office says 61-year-old William Philips, of McMurray, died after he went under the water in the Youghiogheny (yawk-ah-GEN’-nee) River in Lower Tyrone Township about 1:30 p.m. Monday.

Coroner Dr. Phillip Reilly says he couldn’t find a witness to confirm the victim was wearing either a life preserver or a helmet, even though Philips reportedly signed a waiver when he rented the kayak saying that he would wear the safety gear.

State police were continuing to investigate the death.

Friends who were with Philips were able to right his kayak and bring him to shore, but only after he was underwater for several minutes.

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