Dakota Country Magazine October 2016 Edition - Page 50

Life-threatening ordeal on Devils Lake Man survives overnight event clinging to gas can O Outdoor adventure sometimes comes with a price. Leroy Throlson of rural Sheyenne, North Dakota, will be reminded of that for the rest of his fishing days. On the afternoon of August 26, alone, he launched his 16-foot Crestliner into Devils Lake south of Minnewaukan, and headed north toward ND Highway 19, about a 4-mile trek. Winds were moderate, a little more than 10 mph from the south. A good afternoon for fishing, or so it seemed. He enjoys fishing Devils Lake, but is aware that things are always changing. He knows the memory of running aground at times, having to push off, promising himself to be more careful next time. By late afternoon, wind grew stronger, and he took notice. He began the trip homeward, but he was a taking on small amounts of water in the boat and he didn’t want to be far from the ramp. “I knew I’d taken on some water,” he said, “and I decided to anchor and empty the water Page 50, Dakota Country, October 2016 by Bill Mitzel out, rather than keep going. I had plenty of power and thought I was moving at the right speed through the waves, but water was catching up to me.” When he stopped to anchor and bail, things worsened. “I think I stopped too quickly and water came over the back of the boat,” he remembered. “It filled up quickly and I just sorta got pushed out of the boat with a wave.” Throlson, 73, said he’s not afraid of water, and figured he just had to do some bailing prior to anchoring. But things happened quickly when he stopped the 80 hp Mercury. He quickly found a half-empty gas tank and grabbed it. At the urging of his sister-in-law prior to this encounter to wear his life jacket, it was on at the time of the plunge. Along with his jacket and the gas can, he was safe, at least for the moment. Avoiding panic, he figured he’d simply paddle his way to the shoreline at Highway 19, even though it was still considerably more than a mile. He drifted away from the sinking boat, trying www.dakotacountrymagazine.com