Outlook good for boy pulled from dune

A family photo of Nathan Woessner.
A family photo of Nathan Woessner.

CHICAGO — A 6-year-old Illinois boy who was buried in 11 feet of sand for hours at a northern Indiana dune is expected to make a full neurological recovery, though he may have ongoing lung problems, a doctor who treated him said Monday.

Nathan Woessner is sedated and on a ventilator but should be removed from it by the end of the week, said Dr. Tracy Koogler, medical director at the University of Chicago Medical Center’s pediatric intensive care unit.

Nathan may be released from the hospital in 10 to 14 days, she said.


He has been in critical condition since Friday, when he was rescued after falling into a sinkhole and being buried for about four hours. Nathan was climbing the Mount Baldy dune in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore with his father and two friends.

Get Ground Game in your inbox:
Daily updates and analysis on national politics from James Pindell.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Nathan’s grandfather, Don Reul of Galva, Ill., said the 8-year-old friend saw Nathan disappear into the sand. Nathan’s father and his friend’s father could hear him at first and tried to dig him out with their hands.

Reul, a pastor, said the family feared Nathan was dead when he was pulled out, until a cut on the boy’s face began bleeding.

Then, Reul said, ‘‘hope began to bubble up in our family that Nathan’s not gone.’’

Associated Press