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Puppies, parents rescue boy buried alive in sand

THURMAN A 12-year-old boy was buried alive Monday for nearly 30 minutes after a sand bank collapsed and buried him several feet underground. His yelping puppies and the frantic actions of his parents apparently saved his life. Dakota Beadnell, son of Erin and Tom Beadnell, was flown by helicopter to Albany Medical Center and examined and released without serious injury, although he had been unconscious when his parents frantically dug him out. Dakota Beadnell was digging a cave into a sand bank late Monday afternoon beside his parents new home on Bear Pond Road when it collapsed and buried him under as much as three feet of sand, his mother said Wednesday. His parents were inside sanding and taping sheetrock when they went outside to check on him but couldnt find him, Erin Beadnell recalled Wednesday. The puppies were barking and hollering, so we knew something was wrong, she said. They are usually quiet when hes around. After searching the surrounding woods and Erins grandmothers home nearby, the Beadnells returned home, and their puppies were on top of the sand bank yelping right above where their son Dakota was totally buried, Erin Beadnell said. The puppies were whining and pawing the sand, and I yelled for my husband, and he started digging, she said, noting she simply had an intuition he was buried underground. After a while we uncovered a patch of red and we knew it was Dakotas pants, and we dug even faster and figured out which direction his head must be. She said she was full of fear when she uncovered his head. I got to his head and swept the sand away from his nose and mouth, she said. His father yelled to him and he gasped, and his eyes went open and closed. The two pulled him out of the deep sand where hed been buried alive at about 6:30 p.m. We brought him up and he was basically lifeless, limp, and we could get no response from him, she added. At one point, he vomited up sand, she said. In just a few minutes, personnel from the Thurman and Stony Creek Emergency squads and Thurman firefighters arrived. At the scene Monday, Thurman Fire Chief Jeremy Bradway said Dakotas vitals were weak, but he was finally able to mumble words to paramedics as they loaded him into an ambulance. Meanwhile, a Medevac helicopter landed beside the Warrensburg firehouse to take him to Albany Medical Center. Erin Beadnell rode on the helicopter with her son, while paramedics gave him oxygen, and he regained consciousness, she said. Dakota was discharged from Albany Medical Center that night after a lengthy series of examinations and tests. Erin Beadnell said her son has since recalled that his one hand was beside his mouth when the sand cave collapsed, allowing him a tiny pocket of air to breath. Dakota told me he knew he would not have oxygen and had to lay there underground quietly and maybe wed eventually find him, she said. Erin said the near-death of her son has inspired her to publicize a warning to children and parents. I want people to know that digging holes and caves in dirt is great, but not safe -- dig a cave or a hole, but dont go into them, she said. Beadnell also said she deeply appreciates the fast response from the emergency medical personnel and firefighters. Wednesday, Dakota, who is home-schooled, was writing Thank You letters, as a schooling project, to people who helped out at the scene. It was his idea, his mom said. To have my son here with me today is a wonderful feeling, she said.

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