July 15th, 2013
12:23 PM ET

Boy Swallowed by Sand Dune Survives

A 6-year-old boy swallowed whole by a massive sand dune is in critical condition. He was saved by emergency crews that dug him out, CNN's Pamela Brown reports.

Authorities say Nathan Woessner was suddenly swallowed by a sinkhole on Friday, June 12th on the Indiana sand dunes lining Lake Michigan.

Dozens of first responders rushed to the 11-foot tall mound of sand burying the boy. With excavation equipment in hand, they raced against the clock.

"At that point everybody was really frantically, by hand, trying to dig him out. Once I had ahold of his head, I was supporting his head and just talking to him you know, just like I would talk to my own son," says Brad Kreighbaum a Michigan City Firefighter and first responder.

More than 3 and a half hours went by, and then finally signs of life.

"I kind of felt for a pulse... your heart wants you to feel that and your heart wants you to hear that breath," says Ryan Miller, of D & M Excavating who helped in the rescue.

Woessner, unconscious but still breathing, was pulled from the sand and rushed to the hospital. In the end, it may have been a single pocket of air that saved his life.

The family says it's a miracle that the boy survived more than 3 hours buried beneath the sand and thanks the first responders who recovered their son, Brown reports. Authorities do not believe the boy suffered brain damage or any life threatening injuries. The first responders who saved his life say they hope to meet him one day.

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