Boy, 6, rescued after being swallowed by a sinkhole and spending three hours buried under ELEVEN FEET of sand
By Daily Mail Reporter PUBLISHED: 13 July 2013
A 6-year-old boy has been rescued after falling into a sinkhole that opened up at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, trapping him for more than three hours under 11 feet of sand.
Lakeshore Ranger Bruce Rowe said work crews had to use heavy excavating equipment to pull the boy out of a dune known as Mount Baldy, where he was playing Friday afternoon.
The child initially was taken to Franciscan St. Anthony Health Medical Center, then flown to a Chicago hospital.
Rowe said he has been told the boy had vital signs and appeared in ‘pretty good shape,’ but his current condition is unknown. It is believed that the child and his family are from Illinois.
The 6-year-old was walking with his parents along the sand dunes in Michigan City when he came across a rotted tree that may have caused the collapse, The Indy Channelreported. The area where the boy fell was off limits to the public.
At around 4.30pm central time, the boy’s parents placed a frantic 911 call saying their son fell into a dune and became buried in sand when they tried to dig him out.
Emergency crews were on scene within 15 minutes and began digging by hand.
Michigan City Fire Chief Ralph Martin said the boy was located just after 8pm local time when crews using probes found an air pocket in the dune where the victim was trapped, according
Two local excavating companies joined in the dig, providing backhoes and other heavy equipment to free the child from the hole.
Firefighters said that on the way to the hospital, Nathan began to breathe and cry, ABC 57in South Bend reported.
Mount Baldy will remain closed during the weekend while authorities investigate the incident to determine if the area is safe. According to the Park Service, the dune is 126 feet high.
Rowe said he doesn’t know what exactly the boy was doing when he initially got stuck, but called the incident ‘baffling.’
‘I have never heard of anything like this here or at other sand dune parks,’ said Rowe, who has worked at the lakeshore since 1991. ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this on a sand dune.’
During a press conference Saturday afternoon, Laporte County Chief Deputy Coroner Mark Huffman told ABC News that the 6-year-old had ingested sand, and he will likely undergo extensive therapy to rehabilitate his lungs.