Skip to main content

Boreal Community Media

St. Cloud couple rescues 3 swimmers at Little Presque Isle on Lake Superior

Jul 21, 2020 06:09AM ● By Editor
By Nick Friend and Doug Lindblom of WLUC-TV - July 20, 2020

A scream for help was answered Sunday afternoon in a daring rescue of three swimmers caught in a Lake Superior rip current at Little Presque Isle.

“We kind of kept an eye on them because I thought it was it was a little interesting that they were swimming out this far in these conditions,” said Dayton Nash who assisted in the rescue.

That’s when Marena Kouba and her boyfriend, Dayton Nash, answered a call for help from an 11-year-old boy, a 10-year-old girl and their uncle.

“So I immediately swam out there. He (Dayton) ran back and called 911,” said Kouba.

Kouba, the captain of the St. Cloud State Swimming and Diving Team in Minnesota, swam 150 yards to complete the rescue. The swimmers just reached dry land when the Michigan State Police and the U.S. Coast Guard arrived on scene.

“I just tried to calm them down,” said Kouba. “Keep them on their back and floating. I had the little girl and the little boy hold hands. And then their uncle, I had him hold their hand too. So I had the little girl and the uncle hold my hand and then I grabbed them and I was paddling with one arm and kicking with the other leg.”

The couple, who are in the area celebrating their two-year anniversary, saw the swimmers attempting to make it to the island when they were caught by strong currents and choppy water. The couple opted not to swim in the area moments before the rescue.

“I knew right away that I had to swim out there and help those people because if something bad would have happened, just knowing that I could have done something, I don’t think I could live with that,” Kouba stated.

“I was really nervous for Marena,” said Nash. “I thought something would happened. I heard horror stories of people trying to go out and help and it makes things worst.”

The National Weather Service in Negaunee Township has a reminder for swimmers.

“Over the years, through lots of research, we found that we have a big issues within the Great Lakes system with regards to rip currents,” said Matt Zika, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

Zika reminded swimmers to never enter dangerous waters and follow all signs, but if they ever find themselves in a similar situation, swim or float with the current rather than against.

This National Weather Service graphic shows how strong currents can develop near Little Presque Isle in the Upper Peninsula.

To watch a video version of this story and see related articles, follow this link tothe WLUC-Tv website.

Upcoming Events Near You
DNR Fall Color Map
Fall Color Finder
Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here