Boy burried alive in sand dune is improving

(CBS News) A deputy coroner is calling a six-year-old boy who survived the collapse of a sand dune in northern Indiana an "absolute miracle."

There are no two ways about it, Nathan Woessner's doctors at the University Of Chicago Hospitals are marveling over his recovery.

Indiana boy trapped in Sand Dune

"He is actually doing very well. He is improving every single day and we hope to have the breathing tube out by the end of the week. And I would hope that he would possibly be out of this hospital in 10 to 14 days," said Dr. Tracy Koogler, medical director of pediatric intensive care at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Attempts to flush the sand out of Nathan's lungs have been effective.

"His lung injury is not nearly as severe as I expected it to be and it has not gotten more severe over the last couple of days. It's actually gotten better," said Koogler.

Last Friday afternoon, the boy was on a hike with his father Greg Woessner at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore when he simply disappeared beneath the sand.

"Nathan was hollering out and Greg could hear him. So Greg told him 'Lay still Nathan. Don't move.' And they frantically began to dig to get him out," said Don Reul, the six-year-old's grandfather.

Trying to dig him out made matters worse and deepened the hole. Excavating equipment finally helped to pull him to the surface, but almost no one expected good news.

The national park service thinks a tree decaying underneath the sand caused a sinkhole that swallowed the child.

"When they found Nathan he was cold and lifeless and the coroner was there," said Reul.

But rescuers noticed a cut on his head had fresh blood, which was a very good sign.

6-year-old trapped in sand dune recovering well

So far doctors say they see no neurological problems, no eyesight problems and no muscular difficulty. He has moved his arms and legs.

"We're especially thankful for the people here. They're doing an outstanding job taking care of Nathan," said Reul.

For Dean Reynold's full report, watch the video in the player above.

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