CHICAGO (CBS) — For the first time in four years, the beach near Mount Baldy at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will reopen to the public on Friday, but the giant dune where a 6-year-old boy was swallowed by the sand in 2013 will remain off-limits.
Mount Baldy closed in July 2013, after Nathan Woessner was buried alive for more than three hours, when a giant hole in Mount Baldy swallowed him. The nearby beach later was closed as well, because safe access had been destroyed by erosion, according to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Woessner fully recovered from his injuries, but the dune and the beach have been closed ever since, as officials seek to determine exactly why Woessner was buried alive.
Authorities have said rotting trees buried under the dune might have left large voids behind, and officials need to gather more information before Mount Baldy itself can reopen.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore said the beach in front of Mount Baldy will reopen at noon Friday. Fences have been installed and staff will be on duty to keep people from leaving the beach and climbing the dune.
While visitors won’t be allowed to climb Mount Baldy, weekly ranger-guided hikes were being offered to the top of the dune.