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The National Park Service has extended the closure of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s Mount Baldy indefinitely to bring in additional resources for the investigation of the sand hole that opened up on July 12 trapping a six-year old boy for 3 ½ hours. The boy was rescued and is currently in critical condition at a Chicago hospital, but doctors Monday announced the child was making a rapid recovery.
Based on evidence gathered at the scene, park officials say they're looking into the possibility that the hole was created by a long-buried tree that had decomposed leaving a void in the sand. While no such occurrence has ever been observed in the park, officials plan to bring in ground sensing equipment to look under the surface of the dune to see if voids or other potential hazards can be identified. Additional expertise is being sought from the Geologic Resource Division of the National Park Service and other sources. A safety protocol is also being developed before park staff or researchers are allowed onto Mt. Baldy.
Park officials stress that the closure is being strictly enforced to protect the public. The closure includes, Mount Baldy, its parking lot, trails and beach area. Signs are posted warning of the closure. Anyone entering the closed area is subject to law enforcement action.
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