US & Canada

Boy, six, pulled alive from Indiana sand dune

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Media captionThe boy reportedly fell into a hole and was buried under 11ft (3.4m) of sand

A six-year-old boy has been rescued after being trapped under a sand dune in Indiana for more than three hours, according to US media reports.

The child was in a critical condition on Saturday but was responding well to treatment, hospital officials said.

He reportedly fell into a hole at Mount Baldy on the shores of Lake Michigan on Friday evening and was buried under 11ft (3.4m) of sand.

Michigan City Fire Chief Ronnie Martin said an air pocket had kept him alive.

Fire fighters and police officers, with the help of excavators, spent three and a half hours digging until they pulled the boy out at about 20:00 on Friday (00:00 GMT).

'Totally amazing'

"He isn't out of the woods yet, but... they found him," the Michigan City News-Dispatch quoted La Porte County Deputy Coroner Mark Huffman as saying.

"It is totally amazing. They got him out and rushed him to the hospital."

Reports said the boy, who has not been named, had been with his family at the dune near Michigan City, but they had not seen him fall into the hole.

He was already partially submerged in the sand when they found him. When they tried to extract him, he fell further inside and disappeared.

A statement from the Chicago hospital where the child was being treated said: "He is listed in critical condition, but when he arrived he was able to respond to simple commands and he has responded well to mechanical ventilation."

It said his parents wanted to thank everyone involved in the rescue effort and asked people to "include this little boy in their prayers".

Mount Baldy is the tallest moving sand dune in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which covers 15 miles (25km) of the southern shore of Lake Michigan, according to the US National Park Service.

Park officials said the dune would be closed for the weekend while investigators determined the cause of the accident and whether there was any further danger.

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