TODAY   |  July 22, 2013

Dad of boy buried in sand: He’s ‘exceptionally well’

Faith and Greg Woessner, whose 6-year-old son, Nathan, survived being buried by a sand dune for close to four hours, talk about his recovery, saying “we are extremely thankful” for everyone who worked to save him.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we are back at 7:43 with the recovery of a young boy literally swallowed by a sand dune in indiana. his survival called a miracle. we'll talk to his parents exclusively in just a moment. but first, their son's story.

>> by all accounts, nathan woessner simply shouldn't have made it. what started as a fun family weekend on the shores of lake michigan .

>> just all the fun things that come with camping.

>> quickly took a terrible turn. may than, his father greg , and friends were climbing a 126 foot sand dune .

>> i just remember colin, you know, kind of hollaring and screaming that nathan fell in a hole. and from there just utter chaos.

>> my friend's son, he got stuck in a sand dune and he is like under the sand and we can't get him out.

>> until rescuers arrived they tried to dig nathan out using only their beare hands.

>> i just had such panic and fear and desperation to get to him. i remember watching the backhoe digging and they were soaked in sweat and covered in sand and they're just digging --

>> frantically.

>> those rescuers did not give up. after digging more than three hours and more than 14 feet, they spotted nathan 's head. he apparently sunk straight down. authorities say a sunken tree may have created the air pocket that allowed him to survive.

>> we didn't find out until we were back at the hospital. a paramedic came in and all i remember hearing was he's alive.

>> nathan was in critical condition and had to be sedated for nearly a week so doctors could clear his airways of sand. his recovery they say could be one for the record books.

>> whether you want to call it a miracle or the best luck in the entire world, you know, the holes in the swiss cheese lined up just right for this kid.

>> well, nathan 's parents are with us this morning exclusively. good morning to both of you.

>> good morning.

>> well, let me ask first how nathan is doing. how is he feeling this morning?

>> at the moment still sleeping. but otherwise, he is doing exceptionally well.

>> i know he was intibated and unable to breathe on his own because of all of the sand. is he now up and about a bit?

>> yes. he has been getting up, moving around. we made a trip down the hall yesterday. and just phenomenal. he's doing just awesome.

>> faith, it must be so hard to see your little boy lying in a hospital bed but at the same time, you must be so thankful that somehow he was able to survive.

>> we are extremely thankful for everything that, yes, not just his survival but everybody that had a role to play in this, you know. i can't say enough about everyone involved.

>> we're very grateful --

>> i'm sorry, go ahead.

>> we're just very, very grateful for everything that they did for nathan and, like my husband said, we're just -- we can't express our gratitude enough for the rescuers and the nursing staff and everybody that's helped bring nathan back to us. and we're thankful to god for, you know, being there with us and bringing nathan back to us.

>> greg , i can't imagine your terror for both of you as you realized your son had fallen into this dune. this is a dune that people are allowed to play on. what was going through your mind as you searched so frantically for him?

>> there's probably a million different things. you know, i just frantically wanting to try to get to him and, you know, the sense of calmness held me tight just to focus on, you know, what we needed to do that day and i just don't have an answer, you know? just focused right on him the whole time.

>> well, faith and greg woessner, we know that you are people of faith and a lot of people look at this as a miracle. thank you for being here this morning and sharing your story.

>>> thank you.

>> thank you.