MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (AP) — A 6-year-old boy who spent more than three hours buried under 11 feet of sand after being swallowed by a massive Indiana dune is recovering well but remains in critical condition at a Chicago hospital.
The boy was identified Sunday night by a hospital spokeswoman as Nathan Woessner (WAYZ-ner).
Michigan City Police Chief Mark Swistek said the parents of the boy told him Saturday that the outlook for the child is very good.
"They are very upbeat and hopeful. They are watching him closely and hoping to speak with him in the next few days," Swistek told The News-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/15diUnZ ).
"The father expressed to me that we didn't give up hope," Swistek said. "He wanted people to know that every minute in this rescue made a difference in this child's life."
Nathan remained in critical condition Sunday at Comer Children's Hospital in Chicago, spokeswoman Lorna Wong said. His hometown hasn't been released, but The News-Dispatch reported he was from Illinois. Wong said she could not confirm or deny the information.
Michigan City Fire Department spokesman Mark Baker told the newspaper he learned the child doesn't have life-threatening injuries or a brain injury from any lack of oxygen he might have experienced. Wong said Saturday the boy had responded to simple commands Friday when he arrived at the hospital.
Michigan City Fire Chief Ronnie Martin told WSBT-TV that firefighters prodding the dune located the boy in an air pocket that enabled him to survive for so long underground.
Nathan's family reported he was playing on the dune known as Mount Baldy on Friday when he dropped partially into it, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Ranger Bruce Rowe said. While they were trying to dig him out, the dune collapsed.
The family called 911, and emergency responders were on the scene within 15 minutes and began digging by hand, Rowe said. Crews with excavating equipment were brought in to help the rescue effort.
The dune is part of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on the shores of Lake Michigan, east of Chicago.
Information from: The News-Dispatch, http://www.michigancityin.com
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.