UPDATE: Judge Absolves City, Harbor Master In Traverse City Mari - Northern Michigan's News Leader

UPDATE: Judge Absolves City, Harbor Master In Traverse City Marina Drowning Case

Traverse City and the city's harbor master will no longer be held liable for the electrocution and drowning of a teenager in August 2011.

An electrical leak and faulty ground system killed Michael Knudsen of Mancelona.

He was swimming in the marina and drowned due to low-voltage electrocution.

The city clerk confirmed the Michigan Court of Appeals absolved Harbor Master Barry Smith of any responsibility for Knudsen's death.

The court's decision also removes the city from any liability.


In this update, a judge has dismissed some of the case against Traverse City after a boy was electrocuted while swimming in the Clinch Park Marina back in August of 2011.

Monday, the judge ruled the marina was operating in a governmental capacity and not as a for-profit operation.

The judge allowed a gross negligence claim against the manager of the marina, who is a city employee, to continue in the court system.

Attorneys for Michael Knudsen's family say the marina had faulty wiring and was not properly marked with signs.

The city wanted the case thrown out completely and is appealing the decision.


An 18-year-old Mancelona teen drowned in Clinch Marina in Traverse City last night.

Witnesses say Michael Knudsen had been swimming off the dock and possibly got some kind of electric shock around 7:30 and disappeared under water.

A friend was able to make it back to the dock, despite getting shocked as well. Marina employees cut power to the F dock area.

Rescuers found Knudsen under the dock near the bottom of 15 to 20 feet of water. He was unresponsive when pulled to shore and pronounced dead at the hospital.