(CHICAGO) — A 6-year-old Indiana boy who survived being buried under a sand dune for three hours has left the rehabilitation facility where he had been recovering.
Nathan Woessner left the La Rabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago on Friday, two weeks after he was buried under a 124-foot sand dune at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Park. Woessner had been walking with his parents when the sand dune collapsed on top of him.
It took rescue crews approximately three hours to get to Woessner, who was buried under 11 feet of sand.
After his rescue, Woessner was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago in critical condition after he ingested sand, but by Tuesday, less than two weeks after being buried, he had recovered enough that he was transferred to the rehab facility.
Dr. Michael Hobaugh, Woessner’s attending physician at La Rabida, said doctors at the rehab facility had focused on helping him with his physical ability and his memory.
“When I first met Nathan and his family, I was surprised he looked so great,” said Hobaugh, told ABC News station WLS-TV in Chicago.
Although Woessner was released, Hobaugh told WLS-TV that the 6-year-old would need to return for continued physical therapy with therapists and doctors.
“They recognize certain areas of deficit and then work on improving those things, so for example, he will have someone to sort of guard him as he walks if there is a balance issue,” Hobaugh said.
Woessner and his family also received therapy on how to talk about the traumatic event at the rehab facility, although Woessner did not remember much of what happened.
“It’s quite a story and quite a miraculous recovery,” Hobaugh said. “There’s a lot we don’t understand about the universe, though, and I think it’s good to be modest about what we don’t understand.”
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Andreas Preuss and Joe Sutton, CNN
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