Home / National News / Boy Rescued from Sand Dune 'Improving Every Day,' Doctors Say


(CHICAGO) — Nathan Woessner, the 6-year-old boy who was trapped for hours in an Indiana sand dune, is “doing well” and “improving every day,” doctors said Monday.

Dr. Tracy Koogler, the medical director at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the University of Chicago Medicine, said at a news conference Monday morning that since the accident on Friday doctors have focused on Nathan’s lungs.

“The greatest challenge is having his lungs get to the point where we can take the breathing tube out, and I expect that we will be able to do that over the next couple of days,” she said.

The boy, she said, is now “lightly sedated,” “responding to touch,” and “all of our indications are that his brain function is normal.”

He could be out of the hospital in 10 to 14 days, she added.

“He was clearly an active boy and the family wants him to return to that, and so do we,” Koogler said.

Nathan’s grandfather, Pastor Don Reul, who drove approximately 15 hours on his motorcycle to get to his grandson’s side in Chicago, expressed thanks to everyone involved in Nathan’s rescue.

On Friday, he said, Nathan simply “stepped in a sinkhole and disappeared out of sight.”

“He was nowhere to be seen,” Reul said. “The ground had swallowed him up.”

“He was in an upright position and just kept on going down,” he added.

Reul said that Nathan ended up 11 feet underground, buried for more than three hours.

“We thought Nathan was dead,” Reul added.

Now, the boy is improving, moving his arms and legs, and his family is grateful for what they called “a miracle.”

“We believe that God spared him for a reason so we’re very confident that God will give us back Nathan whole,” Reul said.

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