03/14/2012 01:51 pm ET

Nicholas Nelson, 11-year-old West Michigan Boy Buried Alive In Sand, Describes Ordeal

Nicholas Nelson believes in miracles -- and with good reason after he survived being buried alive for nearly half an hour under a collapsed sand hill.

The 11-year-old and his older brother were digging in a sand pit near their home in Saranac, Mich., when the sand collapsed around Nicholas.

His brother, Kyle Rininger, 16, called 911 from a neighbor's house before running home to alert his parents and grab a shovel.

Kyle told the Grand Rapids Press the sand "just kept falling and falling."

Though he couldn't dig his brother out himself, Kyle's rescue efforts drew dozens of concerned neighbors, rescue crews and an Aeromed helicopter, the paper reports.

According to WXYZ, rescue crews found Nicholas under nearly a foot of sand.

After the collapse, Nicholas told ABC News he began "saying goodbye in his head," but he had just enough space and air to breathe. The boy now attributes his survival to some special force.

"I think someone was down there with me to create the gap and make sure I didn't go," he said.

Nicholas passed out after several minutes, and wasn't breathing when rescuers finally fished him out of the pit. But he came to after mouth-to-mouth and treatment in an ambulance.

He spent a night in the hospital and was released Monday, no worse for wear. And according to the Grand Rapids Press, Nicholas learned a valuable lesson.

"Don't dig holes unless you have a degree or you're a professional," he said.