Update on the Sago Miners Story

Rick McGee, brother-in-law to Randal McCloy Jr., said that the sole survivor of the Sago Mine disaster was “within minutes of not making it” when rescuers found him alive. McCloy still remains in critical condition. Officials at Ruby Memorial Hospital say that they will give a press briefing only when there is a significant change to report. Test indicate that McCloy, despite brain damage, has a lot of neurological brain activity.

We’re also getting some more details about what happened during those 40+ hours when the 13 men were trapped underground. Ben Hatfield, the chief executive of the International Coal Group Inc. said that the trapped miners apparently tried to use the same mechanized mine car they rode into the mine to force their way out, but debris blocked their path. Hatfield also reportedly told family members that when rescuers went in that “they found footprints”, indicating that the men tried to go back out of the mine, but they couldn’t escape.

On Sunday, thousands gathered outside the West Virginia Wesleyan College chapel to pay tribute to the 12 miners who died. Visitors were encouraged to leave personal messages next to a series of photographs of the victims. One note read “God definitely has 12 more angels.” Another urged 56-year-old Jerry Groves to “enjoy heaven until we get there.” More than 2,500 people were expected for an afternoon memorial ceremony. Family members wore white ribbons with the words “Sago 2006” written across. More ribbons had been tied to trees and light poles.

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