Downstate man drowns Sunday at Little Presque Isle

MARQUETTE – An autopsy was being considered today for a Detroit teen who drowned Sunday afternoon in the waters of Lake Superior off the north side of Little Presque Isle.

Michigan State Police troopers from the Negaunee Township post said Kenny Rubbet, 19, was found in about 25 feet of water Sunday afternoon by the Marquette County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team.

Troopers were dispatched to the scene at about 3 p.m. on the report of a possible drowning. Little Presque Isle is located a seven miles northwest of Marquette in Marquette Township, off Marquette County Road 550.

Police said when they arrived, they discovered four Detroit teenagers – Rubbet, an 18-year-old male and two females aged 17 whose names police did not release – had been swimming off Little Presque Isle. Rubbet found himself in distress and unable to make it back to the rocky shore along the island.

Troopers said Rubbet signaled he needed help and others in the group tried to assist him. At one point they had gotten Rubbet to some rocks, but they were unable to hold him there, police said.

“They were relatively close to the rocks they were jumping off, but because of the waves and a current, they were unable to get him back out,” state police Sgt. Kevin Dowling said.

Police said rescuers tried to resuscitate Rubbet from the time they got him to the surface of the water. He was rushed to the emergency room at Marquette General Hospital, where resuscitation efforts continued, but were unsuccessful.

Police said Rubbet was enlisted to go into the military and was in the Marquette area visiting the two female Northern Michigan University students.

The National Weather Service had put out a bulletin Saturday that dangerous swimming conditions were possible Sunday along the Lake Superior shoreline in Marquette and Alger counties.

Forecasters said there was a high swim risk possible, meaning large waves greater than 4 feet tall and dangerous rip currents were likely along the shoreline. The bulletin said “swimming conditions may be life-threatening to anyone entering the water.”

Police said the waves off Little Presque Isle Sunday were estimated at 3 feet high.

The U.S. Coast Guard, the Marquette Township Fire Department and Marquette General EMS personnel assisted state police at the scene.

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.