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Woessner starts first grade

Nathan Woessner

STERLING (AP) – A northern Illinois boy who spent hours buried underneath an Indiana sand dune is back in school, starting first grade.

Six-year-old Nathan Woessner, of Sterling, spent weeks undergoing rehabilitation following the July 12 accident at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, where he was buried for 3 hours beneath about 11 feet of sand.

Nathan’s family told WLS-TV that their son is recovering from his ordeal and began first grade on Monday.

“He seems to be his normal go-lucky self,” said his mother, Faith Woessner.

Meanwhile, the boy is also remembering more about what happened.

“He’s asking a little more questions here and there, and we’re sharing little bit by little every chance we get,” said his father, Greg Woessner. “He doesn’t know the catastrophics of the whole situation, but he does know he was buried in the sand and for a long period of time.”

Nathan was playing on the dune known as Mount Baldy when he was swallowed by the sand. He was put in a medically induced coma after his harrowing ordeal and his doctors have warned that he could suffer lingering lung problems from inhaling sand. He spent about 2 weeks in the hospital.

The 126-foot dune remains closed as authorities trying to piece together what happened. They’ve also found a similar hole about 100 yards away.

As for school, the boy said his favorite part of the first day was playing outside.

Family members said they plan to attend a ceremony later this month honoring the rescuers who pulled Nathan from the sand.


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