MORGANTOWN, W.VA. — The sole survivor of a mine explosion that killed 12 fellow miners emerged from a light coma Wednesday but still cannot speak, his doctor said.
Randal McCloy Jr., who had been in a coma since his Jan. 4 rescue, is able to respond to simple commands and follow movements with his eyes, said Dr. Larry Roberts at Ruby Memorial Hospital. He also is able to chew and swallow soft foods.
McCloy, 26, of Simpson, may have suffered brain damage from the carbon monoxide exposure in the mine, but the extent of any damage is not yet known. He has developed a slight fever but remains in fair condition.
"The family obviously is thrilled with Randy's constant progress," said Aly Goodwin Gregg, the family's spokeswoman. "They remain optimistic about his continued recovery and they recognize how long the recovery process is going to take."
McCloy survived the Jan. 2 blast at the Sago mine and more than 41 hours of exposure to deadly carbon monoxide.