Illinois boy swallowed in sand pit leaves hospital

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

CHICAGO A 6-year-old Illinois boy who survived being buried by a sand dune has been released from the hospital, less than two weeks after the accident in Indiana.

Officials say Nathan Woessner of Sterling was discharged late Tuesday afternoon from the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital.

The boy was rescued after being buried for more than three hours on July 12 in a dune called Mount Baldy at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

The hospital says Nathan will continue to receive rehabilitative therapy. Doctors say he walked without assistance Sunday and was cleared to visit the hospital playroom Monday. He was spotted walking with his dad.

"Nathan is listed as in good condition and continues to improve," said Dr. Diana Mitchell on Sunday.

Doctors initially put Nathan in a medically induced coma. They say he's expected to make a full neurological recovery but may suffer lingering lung problems from inhaling sand.

The six-year-old had been playing with his father, Greg Woessner, and other friends at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore when he disappeared beneath the sand.

His father and friends tried to dig him out, but it only made things worse - Nathan was sucked 11 feet below the ground.

Firefighters, park officials helped in the four-hour frantic rescue effort. Excavation companies and backhoes were also called in to help.

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