Sole Sago Mine Survivor Sheds Light on Tragedy

Sole Sago Mine Survivor Sheds Light on Tragedy

 This week, the sole survivor in the Sago Mine disaster, Randal McCloy Jr., wrote a letter to the families of his deceased co-workers, providing the most detailed account of this tragedy since it took place 2 January 2006.  

According to McCloy’s letter, the mine’s operator, International Coal Group, Inc., let he and his team down that tragic day in West Virginia. 

The letter described in detail the events that took place deep in the mine, as the group of Sago workers were trapped below the ground by poisonous gasses.  At least four of the air packs used by the team were defective, forcing the miners to share these life-sustaining devices as they desperately tried to inform rescue workers of their location. 

These air packs are intended to provide each miner with at least one hour’s worth of oxygen in the event of an emergency.  But, at least four of these devices failed when they were needed most.  McCloy relays a feeling that the mine operator failed to provide its workers with ‘rescuers’ that may have saved lives that day.  

With knowledge of their impending fate, many of the workers began to pray and scrawl letters to their families.  One by one, they fell victim to the noxious gasses, McCloy recounts in his letter. 

“As my trapped co-workers lost consciousness one by one, the room grew still and I continued to sit and wait, unable to do much else,” wrote McCloy. 

The blast that sparked this emergency killed one worker and prompted the spread of carbon monoxide throughout the mine.  This poison slowly asphyxiated eleven other men.  McCloy, who exited the mine in a coma, was the only survivor. 

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