Dakota Country Magazine October 2016 Edition - Page 51

N Highway 19 3. 2. 1. to swim with the waves toward the shoreline. At the time, he estimated he had nearly two hours of daylight left, and felt confident he could make it. “I felt fine,” he said of his slow, struggling effort to paddle toward Highway 19. “I didn’t give it a thought. In fact, when I first went in (the water) I kinda laughed and thought ‘there goes my boat’. I’m a fairly good swimmer and figured I’d be into shore in 1 to 3 hours. I wasn’t too worried.” Eventually, darkness set in and he realized he was still a long way from shore. Winds remained fairly strong, as Throlson viewed a clear sky and marked stars for direction. He could see the lighted tower of Minnewaukan, and although it seemed closer, it was more than two miles distant. Although he wasn’t going www.dakotacountrymagazine.com 1. Boat ramp where Throlson launched in mid-afternoon. 2. Approximate area where boat filled with water. 3. Shoreline area where Throlson ended up at 9 a.m. the next morning, a distance of about 3.5 miles. 1. Boat ramp where Throlson “I’m a Christian,” Throlson was launched in mid-afterquick to point out. “I thought how noon. I could use my brother’s strength at 2. Approximate that time and I hoped it was God’s area where boat filled plan to pull me through.” with water. As night passed, Throlson be3. Shoreline area more concerned. He believed where Throlsoncame ended he was up at 9 a.m. the next making progress in his paddling efforts, but when daylight finalmorning, a distance of ly arrived, he “realized how far out I about 3.5 miles. was.” He was headed toward a grassy shoreline and he determined he’d be hard to find in that, so changed directions. He paddled with more intensity, praying through the night, but knew not to wear himself out completely. Keep going, he told himself, less muscles stiffen and become useless. At around 9 a.m., he reached the northeast shoreline of the lake where the rocks end on Highway 19, a mile or so east of the Highway 281 junction. He’d paddled a long way, perhaps nearly two miles. And it took him all night. A motorist saw him in his weakened condition and drove him to the hospital in Devils Lake, where he spent the next 30 hours recovering, mostly from weakness and dehydration. that way, it did help him keep his After his recovery, with the help bearings. of authorities, they embarked an exThrough the darkness, he retensive effort to find the sunken boat, mained calm. His wife and neighbors to no avail. notified the sheriff at around 12:30 About his ordeal, he said he a.m., and the search was on. Darkhopes the information he’s presented ness however, prevented an on-themight help someone else. water search, though vehicles cruised “I was never once scared,” he the shorelines of Highway 19 for the said. “I was tired, but I decided early missing man. that I needed to be patient and use “I could see people driving real my head. I knew if I swam hard I’d slow on the shore,” Throlson said. “By get tired. I never let an arm or leg go that time, I assumed someone was very long without using it. It would looking for me.” have been easy to cling to that gas Meanwhile, in the darkness, the can and just drift, but I knew I had to wind was dying, but only slightly. keep moving.” Throlson knew he would be fighting Throlson said he’s very appreciafor survival until at least daylight. tive of all those who helped him and He figured if he succumbed to the his family through the ordeal. elements, it would be from either “I want to thank everyone for hypothermia or a heart attack. their prayers and concern,” he said. He continued paddling, with all For now, he’s looking for another the faith he knew inside him. boat. • Dakota Country, October 2016, Page 51