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Boy improving after accident

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News Bemidji,Minnesota 56619
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Boy improving after accident
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

MINNEAPOLIS - An 8-year-old Leonard boy is gradually improving from injuries he sustained in a sailboat accident April 6.

Isaiah Risland remains at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis, where he's showing positive signs of recovery from hypothermia.


"Isaiah is still gaining consciousness occasionally and responding to voice," wrote Sara Staley, an aunt, in the boy's online journal on the CaringBridge website.

Dan Risland and his boys - Isaiah, 6-year-old Zechariah and 2-year-old Jacob - were sailing on Clearwater Lake when it sunk. 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 then airlifted to the Twin Cities.

"When he is conscious and someone speaks to him he will turn his head or eyes toward them," Staley wrote Saturday. "His oxygen levels have been staying up and he has overrun the ventilator a couple of times, taking more breaths than the ventilator is set to. (This is pivotal)

"He has been off the temperature control blanket for two days and his body has maintained correct temperature."

Meanwhile, several events are planned this week.

Tonight, music and storytelling is planned from 7-10 at Crossroads Church, 3354 Laurel Drive NW, Bemidji. The event is free, but offerings will help defray the family's medical costs.

There also will be funeral services for Isaiah's two brothers, 6-year-old Zechariah and 2-year-old Jacob, on Tuesday in Clearbrook.

A benefit for the boys is planned from 1-5 p.m. Saturday at Evangelical Covenant Church, 5405 Hart Lane NW, Bemidji. The event includes a spaghetti dinner, bake sale and auction.

Isaiah's CaringBridge website has generated about 24,000 visits since last Sunday and more than 500 people have signed the guestbook.


Visit Isaiah Risland's CaringBridge page online at

Steve Wagner
Grand Forks Herald Editor Steve Wagner can be reached at 701.780.1104 and He joined the Herald in April 2013, and previously worked as editor at the Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer and in several newsroom roles -- including news director, investigative reporter and cops/court reporter - at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. His experience includes extensive reporting related to Dru Sjodin's disappearance and the federal death penalty case for her murderer, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., along with projects about immigration, the fatal 2002 train derailment in Minot, N.D., and the 20th anniversary of Gordon Kahl's massacre of U.S. marshals. Wagner also worked as a reporter at newspapers in the Twin Cities and Iowa. In his spare time, Wagner is an avid runner and occasionally writes about his experiences on his blog, Addicted to Running.
(701) 780-1104