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Therapy starts for boy injured in sailboat accident

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 - Twice-a-day therapy is planned for an 8-year-old boy injured in a sailboat accident earlier this month.

Isaiah Risland of Leonard was scheduled to undergo physical and occupational therapy starting Monday, according to his aunt, Sara Staley.

This past weekend, Isaiah began reciting the alphabet, counting to 20 and coloring.

"He was able to identify all of his letters, numbers, and colors on his own," wrote Tia Wallin, an aunt, in an entry Sunday for Isaiah's CaringBridge journal. "His fine motor skills are still a little rusty so it is difficult to hold onto things and at times he would get frustrated but he would keep trying...

"He is a very determined and it made me very proud to see him working so hard to try new things on his own."

The previous day, Staley wrote Isaiah began therapy as part of his recovery.

Isaiah suffered life-threatening injuries in an April 6 sailboat accident. He is being treated Children's Hospital in Minneapolis for hypothermia-related injuries.

His younger brothers, 6-year-old Zechariah and 2-year-old Jacob, died in the accident. Their funeral was last week in Clearbrook.

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

Dan Risland and his three boys were sailing on Clear-water 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.

The Sheriff's Office said it hopes to use sonar equipment to locate the 10-foot fiberglass sailboat. Once the water warms, divers likely will be used to hoist the boat out of the water.

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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