Indiana's Mount Baldy Still Considered Dangerous, 6 Years After Boy Was Trapped

Andy Dahn
August 14, 2019 - 4:06 pm

Mount Baldy (USA Today Sports Photo Network)

Categories: 

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Six years after a freak accident that nearly killed a young boy, Indiana officials continue to learn more about Mount Baldy and even give tours.

National Park Ranger Rafi Wilkinson will never forget the July 12, 2013 incident.

"We had already been starting to close off the dune for restoration," Wilkinson recalled. "On that day in 2013, a little boy saw a hole in the sand.

“It seems impossible, but as any curious kid would do, he got closer and closer and unfortunately fell into the hole, which was about 13 feet deep."

Six-year-old Nathan Woessner was swallowed up in nearly 11 feet of sand and remained buried for hours before rescuers could remove him. He has since made a full recovery.

"I do believe he has been back to the park,” Wilkinson said.

Years of research revealed that deteriorating trees are likely to blame, he said.

"We've learned that Mount Baldy is a relatively new dune that has covered a mature oak forest," he said. "The trees are decomposing inside of Mount Baldy. Radar has shown that there are dozens of these holes."

Because of that, the dune remains off-limits to visitors, many of whom have taken part in open houses and guided hikes throughout the summer.

"The best compromise is to have enough hikes every year so that everyone has opportunities, but we also keep the public off the dangerous areas,” Wilkinson said.

Warnings aren't enough to stop some curious hikers.

"Unfortunately, almost every time I walk up there, I find foot tracks or people exploring."