Fisherman’s heart impaled in freak accident while reeling in northern pike

National

MINNEHAHA COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) – A South Dakota man is thankful following what his family called a “freak” fishing accident.

Todd Thesenvitz was fishing on a lake near Clark, South Dakota, on July 7 when the barely believable happened.

Thesenvitz was reeling a large northern pike to the surface when the fishing hook broke.

“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.”

“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.

Thesenvitz 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 Thesenvitz said.

Todd’s wife Marie Thesenvitz drove the boat back to a 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 Thesenvitz said.

Once they got off the water, Thesenvitz was taken by ambulance to a hospital and then airlifted to Sioux Falls where he had surgery to remove the remaining part of the bottom bouncer.

“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,” said Thesenvitz.

“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,” Thesenvitz said

Thesenvitz 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 him decide when he can go back to work as well as when he can fish again.

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