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Sago Mine survivor set to go home

Randal McCloy Jr., in a December 2005 handout photo provided by this family.
Randal McCloy Jr., in a December 2005 handout photo provided by this family.AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

The sole survivor of the Sago Mine disaster is expected to be released from a rehabilitation hospital and return home Thursday after more than two months of therapy, a family spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Randal McCloy Jr.'s doctors have scheduled a news conference for Thursday morning to discuss his case, Aly Goodwin Gregg said.

"He's been looking forward to going home and he's very, very close to that point now," Gregg said.

"Being in his own space again is what he's looking forward to and what the family is looking forward to."

The 26-year-old coal miner has been at a rehab facility in Morgantown since Jan. 26, recovering from brain damage and other injuries. Earlier, he was treated at hospitals in Morgantown and Pittsburgh.

McCloy was taken to his home in Simpson, a 45-minute drive from Morgantown, for a visit March 14, the first time he had been there since the Jan. 2 explosion that injured him and killed 12 co-workers.

Gregg said McCloy will continue to receive therapy for some time at home. She said his wife Anna, who has been staying at a hotel in Morgantown since the disaster, will be his primary caretaker.

McCloy and his co-workers entered the Sago Mine to resume production after a holiday shutdown when the explosion trapped them. It took more than 40 hours for rescue teams to reach the men, and by then, most had died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

McCloy was carried out with brain, kidney, lung, liver and heart damage on Jan. 4 and remained in a coma for weeks.

He has since regained most of his movement, and is eating and breathing on his own.

While he also has been speaking, doctors have said it may be three to six months before he's able to carry on a normal conversation.

Gregg said she did not know how much McCloy remembers about the explosion.