Sago Mine Survivor Speaks Out

The Associate Press obtained a letter written by Randal McCloy Jr., the sole surviving miner from the deadly mind collapse earlier this year. In the letter, written to family and friends, McCloy said that the miners realized at least four of their air packs did not work, and were forced to share the devices as they pounded away with a sledgehammer in hopes of getting rescuers attention. After the miners became resigned to their fate, the men recited a sinner’s prayer, wrote farewell notes, and were then overtaken by the poisonous gas, some as if “drifting off to sleep.”

At the beginning of this saga, after the blast, the miners returned to their rail car in hopes of escaping along the track, but abandoned the effort because of bad air. They hung a curtain to keep out the poisonous gases, and started beating on bolts and plates, in hopes of getting rescuers attention.

“The last person I remember speaking to was Jackie Weaver,” said McCloy in the letter obtained by the AP. “[Weaver] reassured me that if it was our time to go, then God’s will would be fulfilled.” McCloy says that he has no idea how much time transpired before he passed out.

In an intriguing twist, both the mine company, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health examined all of the air packs recovered from the mine, and said that initial test found that if the devices were activated properly, they would have worked just fine. They are now looking into whether or not the miners received adequate training in the use of their air tanks. (source)

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