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UPDATED: Doctors take boy, injured in sailboat accident, off ventilator

The Risland brothers, Zechariah, top left, Jacob, bottom left, and Isaiah Risland, bottom right, are shown with cousin Isabelle Staley, top right, in this 2010 family photo. The Risland brothers and their father, Dan Risland, were in a sailboat Friday, April 6, 2012, when it sank in Clearwater Lake. Zechariah and Jacob died, apparently from hypothermia, while Isaiah is hospitalized at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. SUBMITTED PHOTO

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 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.

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 roles -- including news director, investigative reporter and crime reporter - at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. His reporting experience includes coverage of Dru Sjodin's disappearance and the federal death penalty case for her murderer, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., along with several investigative projects. In his spare time, Wagner is an avid runner and occasionally writes about his experiences on his blog, Addicted to Running.

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