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Choppy conditions cited in Little Presque Isle rescue

MARQUETTE — The Marquette County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Division rescued a group of nearly 40 hikers who became stranded on Little Presque Isle in Marquette Township Tuesday. Since the initial press releases on the incident, updated information has become avaialble.

The sheriff’s office responded to the report of the stranded hikers at 5:13 p.m. Tuesday and transported the 37 people safely to shore, said Sergeant Errikk Decker, who was already out on the water when he responded to a call from an individual who was stranded on the island.

Decker said he made three trips in “very choppy” wave conditions to transport the 37, who included included numerous teenagers and adults, along with two children and a dog, back to shore. Responders cleared the scene at 6:51 p.m., he said.

The 37 people were primarily visitors from out of town who had walked across the sand bar to the island of Little Presque Isle in separate groups, Decker said. While the people were out on the island, the winds grew strong and 3- to 5-foot waves developed on Lake Superior, blocking the group’s route back to shore, leading the group to call for assistance.

Decker said all 37 people were transported safely to shore without incident, but advised that walking out to Little Presque Isle can be dangerous, as people have drowned in the area in recent years.

“You can never predict Lake Superior, it doesn’t take much for that to turn choppy, I wouldn’t advise it, especially if you have young children with you,” Decker said.

The sheriff’s office was assisted at the scene by the Marquette Township Fire Department, Chocolay Township Fire Department, the United States Coast Guard and Marquette County.