MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (WLS) --In an ABC7 Eyewitness News exclusive, the parents of a young boy trapped in an Indiana sand dune speak out ahead of the first anniversary of the accident.
Seven-year-old Nathan Woessner was the Grand Marshall of the Summerfest Parade in Michigan City Saturday.
The good news is Nathan is doing just fine. He has spent his summer fishing, swimming and hunting for frogs. He loves school and will be starting the second grade in the fall. But this week he and his family returned to Michigan City to once again say thank you to the people who saved his life.
To look at him now, Nathan is pretty much like any other 7-year-old, enjoying a summer day with his family. Saturday, he played with his older brother sitting in the stands of Michigan City's Ames Field, waiting for a drum and bugle show to start.
"It's been a good year," Nathan's mother, Faith Woessner said. "He just finished up the first grade."
But of course, Nathan isn't just any other boy. It's been almost a year since that day on July 12, when the then-3-year-old fell into an 11-foot sinkhole while playing at the beach at Mt. Baldy.
Nathan was buried in the sand for several hours while emergency responders desperately tried to pull him out. When they, did no one thought he'd be alive. And yet he was.
This weekend the Woessner's returned to Michigan City to commemorate that anniversary, serving as Grand Marshall of Michigan City's annual Summerfest Parade. Riding with them, were just some of the people who rescued Nathan.
"It's been a definite honor to come back and spend time and enjoy the love and fellowship of these guys, we love them dearly," said Greg Woessner, Nathan's father. "We hold them close to our heart. We will forever cherish that."
A year later, Nathan himself still seems overwhelmed by the attention. His parents say he has no recollection of that day. And while he's been asking to go to the beach, no plans have been made to do so.
Still, they say, their return is an effort to make Michigan City a place where positive memories can be made.
"We want to make this community and area more of a blessing than a tragedy or anything like that," Greg Woessner said.
More sinkholes have been found on the Indiana Dunes since Nathan's rescue. Mt. Baldy itself has been closed indefinitely while scientists try and determine what caused this one to form in the first place.