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Doctors begin to warm body temperature of 8-year-old boy involved in sailboat accident

MINNEAPOLIS - The family of Isaiah Risland say the 8-year-old boy is showing some positive recovery signs, but prayers are still needed in his fight to survive.

MINNEAPOLIS - The family of Isaiah Risland say the 8-year-old boy is showing some positive recovery signs, but prayers are still needed in his fight to survive.

In a CaringBridge journal entry Tuesday afternoon, Sara Staley wrote doctors warmed Isaiah to a normal body temperature and will keep the boy sedated for about a day before they start to wake him.

"His lungs still need too much help to remove him from the (ventilator)," wrote Staley, the boy's aunt. "Kidney and liver function show improvement, we just have to pray for return of good (neurological) function."

On Tuesday morning, Tia Wallin wrote Isaiah's lungs sounded better but "there are still a lot of crackles and wheezing."

Isaiah Risland spent about an hour in the 40-degree water of Clearwater Lake after the sailboat he was in capsized Friday afternoon. His brothers, 6-year-old Zech and 2-year-old Jacob, died. Clearwater County Sheriff Mike Erickson said the boys, who were wearing life jackets, apparently died from hypothermia.


Isaiah remains at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis.

As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, more than 7,400 people had visited the CaringBridge website for Isaiah and more than 260 messages for the family were left by visitors, many offering their prayers. Among those signing the guestbook are dozens from northern Minnesota, a church in Kansas and a family from Australia.

"We need our prayer warriors to focus on his lungs and brain," aunt Sara Staley wrote in one journal entry. "He needs the 'rice crispies' to be gone before they can discover anything telling about his brain functions.

"Besides the collapsed lung, there are several little rips and tears that allow the oxygen to escape when the ventilator gives him a breath. The (doctor) said he would not be surprised if it takes a week for his lungs to be healthy enough to test the brain. We don't want to wait that long."

Wallin said the boy's coughing during a procedure were a good sign, according to the hospital's respiratory team.

In one journal entry, Staley said the doctor is uncertain whether Isaiah will sustain a permanent brain injury or return to "the same old Isaiah that we know and love...

"Please continue to lift this little guy and his parents up in prayer. We really need it."

Last Friday afternoon, the boys were with their father, Dan Risland of Leonard, on a 10-foot sailboat when it capsized.


Risland told authorities he was unable to get the boys to shore due to the wind and strong current. Risland then left the boys to summon help. He also told family that the waves and wind caused water to rush in the boat, prompting it to sink.

He had the children form a human chain in the water, from smallest to largest, and each child held on to another's ankles. Risland tried to pull them to shore, but could not make any headway.

Risland then swam to shore, where he flagged down someone to call 911. First responders descended on the lake, which stretches into Beltrami and Clearwater counties, in an attempt to rescue the boys.

Erickson said authorities have not recovered the sailboat due to weather conditions, but the sheriff said he hoped it would be retrieved this week.

A fund has been set up to help the family. Donations can be sent to the Dan Risland fund, Country Faith Church, P.O. Box 41, Clearbrook, MN 56634.

In addition, a fund has been set up through Wells Fargo. Donations should be made through the "Sara Staley for the benefit of the Risland Memorial Fund."

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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