Pictures show recovery of boy buried in dunes

July 21, 2013 (GALVA, Ill.)

Sunday, his grandfather revealed new details about what happened.

Doctors now say that they not only expect Nathan Woessner to recover, he appears to be getting through the ordeal without any permanent serious damage.

It's the first time the full story of a little boy's amazing survival, trapped for hours under 11 feet of sand a week and a day ago at the Indiana Dunes has been told in public and it was his grandfather, a pastor in the small, rural community of Galva who told it during Sunday services.

"They had called the coroner. The coroner was there," Pastor Don Reul said. "Four hours under the sand, under that much weight. So much time with no oxygen. There couldn't be any other outcome, could there?"

And yet, despite hours trapped in a sinkhole that formed at the dunes popular Mt. Baldy, and despite having to call in heavy equipment to locate 6-year-old Nathan Woessner, an emergency worker noticed, as they carried his body out, that Nathan's head, hit by a shovel when he was found, had begun to bleed, a sure sign he was still alive.

"We can't even begin to thank those people at the hospital for the level of care," Reul said.

But if Nathan's survival is indeed a miracle, the best news came Sunday morning in a phone call from the little boy's mom at her son's bedside, at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital.

"My daughter told me, 'Dad, I think we're bringing him home next Friday,'" Reul said.

Speaking before the service, Nathan's older brother Jake could not have put it better.

"I'm just ready for Nathan to be out of the hospital," Jake Reul said.

Mt. Baldy at the Indiana Dunes remains indefinitely closed while the investigation continues into what caused the sinkhole to begin with, and how to prevent this from ever happening again.

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