ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota teenager says he drifted in and out of consciousness as rescuers worked to free him after his canoe capsized and pinned him to the rocks near the crest of a waterfall in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area near the Canadian border.
Asher Bloom, 16, of Rochester, was canoeing with a group from Calvary Baptist Church on Tuesday when the boat he and two friends were paddling got sucked into Upper Basswood Falls and hit a rock, causing it to flip.
"I was like holy crap, we're doomed," Bloom said.
Bloom's friends managed to get to safety, but the badly bent aluminum canoe pinned his foot to the rocks near the waterfall's crest, with just his head out of the cold water. He said a group leader eventually reached him and kept his head out of the water while they waited for help to arrive. It took around six hours for authorities to reach and free Bloom in the remote wilderness area, and a few more to put him on a seaplane and get him to the hospital in Ely.
The youth and his canoe-mates said in television interviews Friday that they kept praying for a miracle.
"The physicians or whatever told me I was like in the final stages of hypothermia, and I was drifting in and out of consciousness while I was over there, and if I actually fell asleep, whatever, my lungs and my heart would have just stopped," Bloom recounted.
Bloom is now recovering at home. He had a bandage on his swollen foot, which is numb but expected to heal. He and his friends said they believe their faith in God saved them.
"We made this dumb decision and we deserved, you know, maybe a lot worse consequences. But He turned it around and used it for his glory and just, the way God works in our lives is just amazing," Josiah Murray said.
"It scared the crap out of all of us," Grant Call said. "We were all praying, for hours on end that day, we were all praying."
Despite their ordeal, the friends said they plan to canoe the BWCA again.