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Sailboat in fatal accident recovered by Clearwater County sheriff's officials

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News Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
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Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

BAGLEY - More than a month after a fatal accident, the Clearwater County Sheriff's Office has recovered a 10-foot fiberglass sailboat that sunk with four people aboard.

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The Clearwater County Sheriff's Office recovered the sailboat Thursday in Clearwater Lake, which straddles the border of Clearwater and Beltrami counties.

The April 6 accident resulted in the death of two children and sent a third to the hospital in critical condition.

"Deputies and volunteers have worked many hours searching for the boat" Clearwater County Sheriff's Sgt. Ryan Solee said in a news release. "We could not have done this without the tireless efforts of couple individuals."

Dan Risland of Leonard and his three boys were sailing on Clearwater Lake when the boat sank about 3 p.m. April 6. 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.

Isaiah Risland, 8, is recovering in a St. Paul hospital. His brothers, 6-year-old Zechariah and 2-year-old Jacob, died in the accident, apparently from hypothermia.

Solee said Bruce Cox, the Clearwater County land commissioner, lent sophisticated sonar equipment in the recovery effort.

In addition, Stuart Lien, who works for the county's information technology department, provided several pieces of GPS mapping equipment.

"These two men combined their talents and were able to set up a search pattern that ultimately lead to the discovery of the boat," Solee said.

Last Thursday, Deputy Neil Illies, one of the Sheriff's Office certified scuba divers, tied ropes to the sailboat, in about 30 feet of water.

A team of deputies and volunteers then hoisted the boat to the surface before it was brought to shore.

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Pioneer staff reports
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