Nathan Woessner, the little boy buried alive by a sand dune less than two weeks ago, is making a strong recovery, walking alongside his father for the first time in hospital on Monday.
“Nathan is listed as in good condition and continues to improve. He returns to a regular diet today and can leave his room to visit the playroom,” said Dr. Diana Mitchell of The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital, where Nathan is being treated.
The six-year-old was on a hike with his father, Greg Woessner, and other friends and family at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore when he disappeared beneath the sand.
His father and friends tried to dig him out but it made matters worse and little Nathan sunk 11-feet below the ground.
He was pulled out after a frantic rescue effort which saw firefighters, park officials, family, and friends digging for him. Excavation companies and backhoes were also called in to help in the rescue operation that took four hours.
When Nathan was pulled out of the sandy sinkhole, he was non-responsive, but thankfully was found inside an air pocket which most likely saved his life.
Six days after his accident, Nathan was upgraded from a critical to a serious condition and was continuing to respond to commands, said the University of Chicago hospital.
Last week, Dr. Rachel Wolfson told reporters, “On Friday afternoon, Nathan got out of bed and was able to walk with assistance, and he is eating for the first time. He remains in serious condition.”
The national park service thinks a tree decaying underneath the sand caused a sinkhole that swallowed the little boy.
© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.