MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. -- A Chicago hospital reports that a 6-year-old boy who spent more than 3 hours underground after an Indiana sand dune collapsed on him was able to respond to "simple commands" upon arrival.
Comer Children's Hospital spokeswoman Lorna Wong said in a statement released Saturday that the boy is in critical condition and "has responded well to mechanical ventilation."
The boy was playing on the large dune at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on Friday when he dropped into a hole. Authorities say the dune collapsed in on him while his family was trying to save him and that he was buried for more than three hours under 11 feet of sand.
Michigan City, Ind., Fire Chief Ronnie Martin told WSBT-TV on Saturday that an air pocket saved the boy's life.
The boy's family called 911 at about 4:30 p.m. saying their son became covered when they tried to dig him out. Emergency responders were on scene within 15 minutes and began digging by hand, said Lakeshore Ranger Bruce Rowe , who called the incident "baffling."
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"I have never heard of anything like this here or at other sand dune parks," said Rowe, who has worked at the lakeshore since 1991. "I've never heard of anything like this on a sand dune."
The dune will remain closed this weekend while authorities investigate.
"We won't let people on the dune again until we know what happened and whether it is safe for them," he said.