Benidji, MN - A father’s sailboat ride for his three young children turned deadly when – after the craft capsized – the four tumbled into a frigid northern Minnesota Lake. Two of the children are now dead and the third remains hospitalized in critical condition.
Dan Risland, 31, had reporedly taken his sons, 8-year-old Isaiah, 6-year-old Zech, and 2-year-old Jacob, out on his new sailboat Friday afternoon on Clearwater Lake in far Northern Minnesota. According to reports, ice had only recently melted off the lake.
Clearwater County Sheriff Mike Erickson said that, at about 3 p.m., strong winds tipped the boat and ‘threw them into the water.’ Risland was reported to have tried to reach his sons – all of whom were wearing life jackets – but he struggled in the wind and waves. The sheriff said that the father was becoming hypothermic, so he told Isaiah to watch his brothers while he swam to shore for help.
According to police, by the time authorities arrived, the boys had been in the 40-degree water for about an hour. The two younger boys died of hypothermia. At last report, Isaiah Risland remained at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis in critical condition. The latest word from the family is that they are ‘hopeful, but not optimistic’ about his recovery.
I cannot imagine this man’s suffering. Regardless, I am still dumbfounded by instances where parents place their kids in situations where – if everything goes absolutely right – those kids might remember the situation as mildly pleasant. …but if any of the 18 million things that could go wrong, do go wrong, the entire family will be mired in memories of tragedy and despair for eternity. Objectively, that is never a good bet.