TODAY   |  August 29, 2013

Sand dune victim, 6, reunited with rescuers

Six-year-old Nathan Woessner and his parents were reunited with the rescuers who saved Nathan’s life when he was buried in a sand dune. NBC’s John Yang reports on the ceremony to award the rescuers’ heroism and quick action.

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>>> we have an update now on the 6-year-old boy who survived being swallowed by a sink hole in indiana earlier this summer. he has now been reunited with his rescuers. nbc's john yank has the story.

>> nathan weossner returned to michigan city , indiana, in a big way. a ceremony with people he'd never met. 139 police, firefighters and construction and utility workers who rescued him. last month nathan was swallowed up by mt. balldy, a 126 foot sand dune on the shores of lake michigan , falling nearly 14 feet into a sink hole apparently created by a decayed tree. it took more than three hours of frantic digging to get him out. he arrived at the hospital in critical condition. but he was home in just two weeks. they call it the miracle on mt. baldi. wednesday nation's parents expressed their gratitude.

>> he is alive because of the diligence and the grace of your hands and by the grace of god .

>> we will always be so grateful for what you gave. and you will always be our heroes.

>> reporter: those who saved him got awards. nathan got a backpack for school and camouflage pants. the new first grader took it all in stride. but for his rescuers, it was emotional.

>> it's a great feeling to know that he's still here and he gets to be a normal 6-year-old boy.

>> reporter: a heavy equipment operator recalled skipping his birthday dinner to help.

>> it was the best birthday i've had all together. it was a beautiful birthday present.

>> reporter: and a beautiful present for nathan and his grateful family. for today, john yang , nbc news, chicago.

>>> coming up, the author of