A six-year-old boy survived being swallowed by a 124 foot sand dune for three hours by using an air pocket left by a tree to breathe.
The boy, who has not been identified, was said to be in a critical condition at a Chicago hospital on Saturday following his rescue from the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Park, according to ABC news.
The boy had been walking through the park with his parents when the 124 foot dune suddenly collapsed and swallowed him, dragging him 11 foot underneath the ground. The sites park ranger said that the child’s parents did not see the dune collapse.
“[The boy's parents] didn't actually see the initial collapse,” Bruce Rowe, Park Ranger with the National Park Service told WLS-TV. “But when they got to him, they could actually see him for a little bit, tried to dig him out and that's when the total collapse, as they described it, happened.”
Firefighters, police and first responders spent three and a half hours digging to rescue the boy using heavy excavation equipment. After finally being dragged free, rescuers found vital signs and he was taken to the Franciscan St. Anthony Health in Michigan City, before being transferred to the University of Chicago Children’s Hospital.
The boy is believed to have survived because of an air pocket created by an old tree buried beneath underneath, but this has not been confirmed. “We honestly don't know exactly what happened,” Rowe told WLS-TV. “This is unprecedented. We've never had anything like this.”
He ingested sand and may have to undergo extensive treatment to repair the damage done to his lungs.