Image: Randal McCloy
Family photo via AP file
Randal McCloy, the sole survivor of the mine explosion in Tallmansville, W. Va., is seen with his son in this photo taken in 2003.
updated 1/26/2006 7:38:43 PM ET 2006-01-27T00:38:43

The sole survivor of the Sago Mine disaster was transferred Thursday to a rehabilitation hospital, where his family expects him to undergo weeks, or possibly months, of therapy.

Randal McCloy Jr., 26, remained in fair condition, doctors said, no longer in a coma but still unable to speak.

“The family is very pleased with his progress. However, they are fully aware that the recovery process is still ongoing, and it will be a long process,” said family spokeswoman Aly Goodwin Gregg. “We’re talking about weeks and months.”

Doctors reported on Wednesday that McCloy is able to chew and swallow soft foods.

McCloy was part of a 13-member crew that was trapped in the mine after an explosion Jan. 2. The crew was exposed to deadly carbon monoxide for more than 41 hours, and all but McCloy had died by the time searchers found them.

Doctors have said McCloy may have suffered brain damage from the carbon monoxide poisoning, but the extent of that damage is not yet known.

The family receives an average of 40 e-mails, letters and packages a day from across the country. The Randal McCloy Fund has received deposits totaling $8,500, Gregg said.

While doctors have been issuing almost daily updates on McCloy’s progress, Gregg said that will now stop.

“But when there is news to share, the family will share it,” she said. “They appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers.”

Gregg said Wednesday that McCloy’s wife has remained at his side and his children visit him regularly. They talk to him and he responds to them.

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