Strawberry Lake investigation unlikely to leave many pleased

Whatever the resolution of the Strawberry Lake inquiry into the incident that left one victim dead, it seems unlikely that any party is going to walk away satisfied. That just doesn’t happen frequently in incidents in which a child dies in such a tragic accident.

A decision is expected as early as next week as to whether or not charges will be filed as a result of a fatal accident that occurred on the water at Strawberry Lake on June 9.

An unmanned jet ski struck two girls tubing behind a boat. Killed as a result of the accident was 10-year-old Haley Sundsbak of Des Lacs. Abby Mikkelson, 10, Minot, was hospitalized in critical condition but survived. Sundsbak died a day later. Mikkelson eventually returned to Minot to recover from her injuries.

The operator of the jet ski asserted he was ejected from the craft, but despite safety features designed to make it impossible or at least highly unlikely, the jet ski continued on, striking the girls.

Investigators have taken the incident with the seriousness it warrants. They’ve conferred with the manufacturer and, most recently, conducted an on-the-water recreation. They want answers and the families deserve answers.

The challenge is that there is always the chaos factor, the culmination of so many small-chance factors as to lead to a singular event where no one is honestly to blame.

Or maybe some evidence not yet revealed does identify someone who is to blame.

Either way, it seems highly unlikely that affected parties are going to be satisfied no matter what decision is made. Nothing can really make up for the loss of a child. No one can be involved in such an incident and walk away unscathed. Charges or not; everyone walks away with his own pain and mourning. Because, thank God, that’s the kind of people we are here.

It might not be a cheery theory on the eventual resolution of this incident. But it is probably an honest one.

It’s the immense sadness that will go on for a long time to come.

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