A 6-year-old Indiana boy who was buried for hours when a sand dune collapsed and swallowed him is well on the way to recovery. Doctors at the hospital where he’s healing said Tuesday he’s now moving his arms and legs.
Doctors also say the boy is not likely to have brain damage from the incident, which trapped him for hours beneath the ground.
Rescue workers dug for 3½ hours to try to save 6-year-old Nathan Woessner, who was buried beneath 11 feet of sand, Fox News reported. When they found his unconscious body, they rushed him to the University of Chicago Medicine’s Comer Children’s Hospital, expecting the worst.
But Tracy Koogler, a medical director at the facility, said doctors are now predicting a possible full recovery, CNN reported. He’s still on a ventilator, but could have his tube removed later this week — and could be sent home in 10 days, Ms. Koogler said.
While it’s unclear if he will have any medical issues, doctors say he’s not likely to suffer brain damage, due to a single small air pocket he was able to access while buried beneath the sand.
The boy had visited Mount Baldy Beach at Indiana Dunes National Park on Friday with his family, when he stepped on a sinkhole and disappeared from view. Emergency responders used heavy excavation equipment to help dig him out.
“There was lots and lots of guys hand digging, trying to expose him making sure nobody was going to hurt him or anything with any equipment,” said rescuer Rich Elm, to WNDU TV.
As the hours ticked by, with no signs of the boy, Michigan firefighter Brad Kreighbaum said in CNN that “we were really losing hope fast, and we tried to just stay focused.”
And then they saw him.
“Once I had a hold of his head,” Mr. Kreighbaum said, “I was … just talking to him, you know, just like I would talk to my own son.”