MINNEHAHA COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) — A northeastern Minnehaha County man is thankful following what his family is calling a ‘freak’ fishing accident.
Todd Thesenvitz was fishing on a lake near Clark, South Dakota, on July 7 when the barely believable happened.
“I seen the bottom bouncer come flying towards me like in slow motion,” he said. “Well I thought it just hit me in the chest, but when it hit me in the chest I felt something right here and then I realized that it was stuck inside of me.”
Todd was reeling a large northern pike to the surface when the fishing hook broke.
“It went into my left ventricle in my heart. There’s a sack around your heart. It went through that and into the heart muscle itself,” he said.
Todd was fishing with his wife and daughter Keanna Thesenvitz, who is a nurse.
“My first instinct is not to pull it, to leave it in. Whenever anything happens, you instantly want to get it out of you cause you think that would help,” Keanna said.
Todd’s wife Marie Thesenvitz drove the boat back to this boat landing, which at that time was full of first responders.
“Every wave that it hit was making him scream in more pain, so it was nerve-racking, and I just had to kind of keep looking over my shoulder, but I knew that Keanna had him and I knew she was going to take care of him,” Marie said.
Keanna played a crucial part in her dad’s survival.
“We went fishing on that same lake the day before and she wasn’t with us. If it would have happened then, I don’t know what the outcome would have been,” Marie said.
Once they got off the water, Todd was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Watertown and then airlifted to Sioux Falls where he had surgery to remove the remaining part of the bottom bouncer.
“This is actually it, what’s left. In the ambulance ride, which was probably like 20 minutes, the normal bottom bouncer has, you know, additional length here. They cut it off and then clamped it and then taped the clamp that was holding the remainder of the rod down to his chest,” Keanna said.
Todd says he is thankful.
“My daughter, my wife, all of the caretakers from Clark, South Dakota and Prairie Lakes Hospital in Watertown and the people in Sioux Falls,” Todd said.
“They’re like it’s a one in a million chance that you’re still here with us. Had I pulled it out, they said within 30 minutes you’d definitely been dead,” Todd said.
“We are truly blessed. Truly, truly blessed. Not only because he’s here, but he’s doing so well,” Marie said.
“Told my wife we should have bought some lotto tickets that day, you know you never know, but this is better than winning the lottery,” Todd said
Todd is doing well considering the circumstances, but he isn’t supposed to lift anything over 10 pounds. He will have some follow-up appointments which will help decide when he can go back to work as well as when he can fish again.