MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (CBS) — Emergency crews pulled a young boy alive from a giant sand hole in Michigan City, Ind. Friday night after the child had been buried alive for more than three hours.
Nathan Woessner was still on a ventilator at Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago on Monday morning, but doctors say there are no signs of any brain injuries.
The boy became trapped at Mount Baldy around 4:30 p.m. Chicago time. Park rangers say the boy’s plight quickly became worse.
“As they were trying to free him the hole completely collapsed, burying him so they could no longer see him,” Bruce Rowe of the National Park Service said.
The boy’s family made frantic 9-1-1 calls, drawing first responders within minutes, WSBT-TV reported. The heavy-equipment dig to recover the victim took 3 1/2 hours. When it was over – the boy was taken away in an ambulance around 8 p.m. – some rescue workers appeared emotionally spent.
Rowe said the boy was alive when finally extracted from the sand but did not know his condition. He was airlifted to a Chicago hospital, Rowe told CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot. The boy’s age initially was reported as 8, but the ranger said the child is 6 years old.
Michigan City police, fire and the state Department of Natural Resources dug with heavy equipment in hopes of rescuing the boy.
When he arrived at University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital was responding to simple commands. He is also responding well to mechanical ventilation.
The park was closed for the weekend as investigators try to determine what happened.
A statement released from the University of Chicago Medicine, says in part:
“His parents want to extend their deepest thanks to the Michigan City fire and police departments and all the authorities, private +companies and individuals who contributed to the rescue effort. They also ask that people include this little boy, in their prayers.”