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Steve Wagner, Forum Communications, Published April 18 2012

Minnesota boy injured in sailboat accident begins breathing on his own

MINNEAPOLIS – An 8-year-old Leonard boy who suffered life-threatening injuries in an April 6 sailboat accident is now off the ventilator used to help him breathe.

Isaiah Risland is being treated at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis for hypothermia-related injuries.

“Danny called this morning to tell us that Isaiah is off the ventilator, the tube is removed and he is breathing on his own,” Isaiah’s aunt, Sara Staley, wrote in an online journal entry posted Wednesday morning. “Praise the Lord!”

The move to take Isaiah off the ventilator was expected. Staley said Tuesday night that the boy’s father, Dan Risland, described doctors’ plans Tuesday to wean Isaiah off the ventilator.

Isaiah’s younger brothers, 6-year-old Zechariah and 2-year-old Jacob, died in the accident. Their funeral was Tuesday in Clearbrook.

Previously, Clearwater County Sheriff Mike Erickson ruled out criminal charges.

Dan Risland and his three boys were sailing on Clearwater Lake when the boat sank. The father swam to shore to summon help after being unable to get the boys to land.

The boys were wearing life jackets but spent about an hour in 40-degree water until first responders could reach them.

Zechariah and Jacob died, apparently from hypothermia, while emergency crews revived Isaiah, who was airlifted to Minneapolis.

Late last week, Isaiah began responding to voice, and a magnetic resonance imaging test, or MRI, was “normal,” Staley wrote in his online journal. A MRI allows medical staff to make pictures of body organs to determine problems.

A benefit is planned from 1-5 p.m. Saturday at Evangelical Church, 5405 Hart Lane NW, Bemidji.


Wagner is the editor of the Bemidji Pioneer


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