BALDY BEACH, Ind. — For 3 1/2 hours, rescuers dug desperately to reach the 6-year-old boy swallowed whole in the northern Indiana sand dunes.
But the more they dug, the deeper Nathan Woessner seemed to sink in the 11-foot mound of sand.
“One minute you’re thinking, ‘We don’t know what we’re going to have,’ and you’re thinking the worst. Then you’re hoping for the best,” one of the rescuers, Rich Elm, told CNN affiliate WNDU.
“There was lots and lots of guys hand digging, trying to expose him making sure nobody was going to hurt him or anything with any equipment.”
Six-year-old Nathan Woessner and his family had gone to Mount Baldy Beach at the Indiana Dunes National Park on Friday. It was a day meant to be a fun family vacation at the beach on the Lake Michigan shoreline.
But then the unexpected happened. Every parent’s worst nightmare: sounds of screams and a missing boy.
911 Operator: 9-1-1.
Caller: I’m at the Mount Baldy Beach. And my friend’s son, he got stuck in the sand dune, and he’s like under the sand and they can’t get him out.
Relatives and loved ones scrambled to dig through the sand. It didn’t help.
911 Operator: Ok, can anybody see him or is he completely covered by sand?
Caller: Uh, yes. My husband and his dad are trying to dig him out.
Dozens of first responders rushed to the scene, with excavation equipment and shovels in hand. They raced against the clock.
An hour went by.
For more on this CNN story, click here.