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Through the ice and back, teen speaks about struggle | News

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Through the ice and back, teen speaks about struggle


Three Harriman boys who fell through ice on Watts Bar Lake Saturday are out of the hospital and well on the road to recovery.

Leaf Clark was going fishing with his friends for his birthday. After discovering the lake was frozen, they walked out on the ice. Then they fell in.

Now on Monday, the ice has melted on Watts Bar Lake, but Clark remembers his struggle.

"My other two friends came back across, and they both stepped on an air bubble near the buoy where there was no ice. And it broke on them and they fell in. So me and my cousin went to go help them, and when I was trying to help them, I fell in with them and my cousin almost fell in with me," said Clark

After falling in, Clark remembers his legs going numb.

He and his two friends grabbed on to a nearby buoy waiting for help. They held onto that buoy for about an hour.

"I tried to swim back to shore, but I couldn't do it because my legs were so frozen. I knew we had to keep holding on and we would be all right and somebody could get us," said Clark. "Eventually I gave up and that's right when the boat came. We were just so happy."

The whole family is together and safe now, but on Saturday they prayed for a miracle.

"You're helpless and that's your child out there. And not just your child but two other kids you have known since they were five years old. And here it is happening, you know. It's terrifying," said Clark's mother, Tabatha Clark.

That miracle rode in on a duck boat. Local pastor Neil Crass, his son, and a local volunteer rode in to pull the boys out of the water.

What started as a fishing trip turned into a close call for these families.

While recovering at UT Medical Center, Clark celebrated his birthday. The hospital offered him cake and people sang to him. It was not the birthday party he had in mind.

Now Clark can get back to life as an eighth grader-- going to school, playing on the football team, and steering clear of the ice.


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