August 29th, 2013
01:56 PM ET

6-Yr-Old Trapped in Sand Dune for Hours Thanks Rescuers

A boy who spent three hours trapped in a sand dune under 11 feet. of earth joins his parents in Indiana to thank the men and women who searched tirelessly for him.

Six-year-old Nathan Woessner and his parents call it a miracle,  CNN's George Howell reports.

At the ceremony, recorded by CNN affiliate WSBT, Faith Woessner expresses her gratitude and says, "We will always be so grateful for what you did. And you will always be our heroes."

The dramatic rescue played out July 12th at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. A 911 call reveals a frantic witness.

"Yeah we had a kid that fell in the hole at Mt. Baldy."

The dispatcher responds quickly, "We have everybody on the way."

Officer Greg Radiger was first to arrive on the scene and tells Howell about the obstacles the rescuers faced and even, at one point, they thought the boy was dead.

"It was so hard to dig in the sand. It was collapsing right on top of us. It was coming down on us. It was one step forward, and 10 steps back with the sand....When we pulled Nathan out of the hole, it was a limp body."

The boy was taken to the hospital and despite the odds, survived to thank his saviors.

Greg Woessner, Nathan's dad, says, "I don't know if we could ever express what feelings, or emotions, or the love we have for everyone that was there and had a role to play in this. Because thank you, just doesn't seem like enough."

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