Mount Baldy, Indiana – A 120-foot tall dune along Lake Michigan in Indiana will remain closed to the public this summer, as researchers aim to determine the reasons why a 6-year old boy found himself buried alive in that location about 3 years ago.

Since 2013, the popular sand dune has been closely examined since the burying of Nathan Woessner, who spent over three hours trapped under several feet of sand. Although Woessner had to be immediately hospitalized, he managed to recover completely.

In 2013, Nathan Woessner, who at the time he was 6 years old, spent three-and-a-half hours trapped in the sand before he was rescued. Credit: NBC

The closure of Mount Baldy

Until the Indiana Geological Survey study team manages to find a reasonable explanation why Mount Baldy was able to trap Nathan Woessner in one of its sinking holes, the place will remain closed to the public.

There have been several other studies around Mount Baldy, and all seems to point towards the trees. When trees rot in soil such as the one around the sand dune, they tend to leave behind a hole. These holes were examined using ground-penetrating radars to find the buried rotting trees and structures to blame for the incident.

It is speculated that Woessner fell into one of those holes and remained there until he was rescued. Although it seems to be the most reasonable explanation, park spokesman Bruce Rowe has stated that he has not received any report of results, so a decision cannot be made on the matter.

“Whatever we say will turn out to be accurate, or as accurate as science can tell us,” he commented.

Mount Baldy is one of the most visited landmarks in the area, as it has an estimated average amount of 1.5 million visitors each year, since 1997. The attendance on 2014 was the lowest in a decade, as visitors were diverted from the site, most likely due to Woessner’s incident, but Rowe commented that he cannot know whether the drop in visitors was because Mount Baldy was closed or because the weather conditions have not been the best all year long. The park is located at a 60-mile drive from Chicago, and Rowe expects that the dune will remain closed for the duration of summer.

Even if researchers are able to find the cause of the burial, there is still the need to establish cautionary procedures and norms in order to ensure the visitor safety, but the remainder of the area is still open to the public.

Source: CBS Chicago