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6-year-old trapped in sand dune recovering well

Updated 2:34 p.m. ET


The doctor who helped treat a 6-year-old Illinois boy who was buried in sand for hours at a northern Indiana dune says the child is expected to make a full neurological recovery.

Dr. Tracy Koogler is medical director of pediatric intensive care at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

She said Monday that Nathan Woessner may suffer some lasting lung problems from breathing in sand, but is responsive and can move his limbs.

"I actually expect him to recover and get off the ventilator and go home eventually," Koogler said at a press conference Monday.

A family photo of Nathan Woessner, the 6-year-old Illinois boy who was buried for hours in a sand dune. The boy has been in critical condition since being rescued Friday at the dune known as Mount Baldy in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore near Michigan City, Ind.
AP/Woessner Family via The University of Chicago Hospital

The boy has been in critical condition since being rescued Friday from the Mount Baldy dune in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Koogler said Nathan is sedated and on a ventilator, but should be removed from it by the end of the week, and that preliminary tests by an ophthalmologist indicated he did not have serious damage to his eyes.

She also said he'll likely be released from the hospital in 10-14 days.

Nathan's family reported he was playing on the dune known as Mount Baldy on Friday when he dropped partially into it, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Ranger Bruce Rowe said. While they were trying to dig him out, the dune collapsed.

The family called 911, and emergency responders were on the scene within 15 minutes and began digging by hand, Rowe said. Crews with excavating equipment were brought in to help the rescue effort.

The Rev. Don Reul, Woessner's grandfather, said the boy was chasing his dad and another boy's dad up the dune when "Nathan just stepped on a spot that just swallowed him up."

Reul said he was found 11 feet under the surface, and that he "went down standing straight up," which is the same position he was found in. Rescuers said he was found in an air pocket, which is what likely allowed him to survive.

Saving the child meant digging through 800,000 pounds of earth, reports CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds.

The dune is part of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on the shores of Lake Michigan, east of Chicago.