Accidental drowning ruled in Coopersville man's death

The death of a Coopersville man found in the Grand River behind his boat in August has been ruled accidental, Detective Corey Allard of the Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Department said today. Michael Kirby, 51, was reported missing the afternoon of Aug. 20 by a friend, James Cunningham. Cunningham was supposed to meet Kirby that morning to work on his boat in the Village Cove Marina, 900 W. Savidge St. in Spring Lake, Allard said.
Becky Vargo
Sep 22, 2011

Kirby was last seen by another friend who had gone with him to the Holiday Inn the previous night. The friend told police he couldn’t find Kirby at closing time and assumed he was sleeping in his cabin on the boat.

Cunningham told police he checked around the boat and couldn’t find Kirby. He later called police after seeing one of Kirby’s sandals on the dock and another floating in the water. Cunningham said he didn’t call police right away because he was under the impression a missing person couldn’t be reported unless the person was gone for more than 24 hours.

Emergency personnel were called at 5:36 p.m. Aug. 20 and Kirby’s body was found a short time later.

Allard said the medical examiner’s report ruled the cause of death to be drowning. The report also noted the man had severe coronary disease. His blood-alcohol level was 0.26, the detective said.

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