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Investigators hope to talk to McCloy

Federal and state investigators have asked to interview Sago Mine disaster survivor Randal McCloy Jr. as soon as possible, officials said Wednesday.

“We’re very interested in hearing what Mr. McCloy has to say,” said James M. Dean, interim director of the state Office of Miners Health, Safety and Training.

No interview by investigators has been scheduled, and officials are waiting for McCloy’s doctors and family to approve such a meeting.

“We are very interested in interviewing Mr. McCloy as part of our investigation, and we hope it would be appropriate to do so soon,” David Dye, acting chief of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, said through MSHA spokesman Dirk Fillpot.

Investigators say that they do not know how much McCloy will be able to help them to determine the exact cause of the explosion.

But his testimony could clear up questions about the efforts by McCloy and 11 other miners to escape the Upshur County mine after the Jan. 2 explosion. Such information could help mine safety officials improve mine rescue and escape efforts in the future, officials said.

McCloy, 26, of Simpson in Taylor County, was the only survivor of the worst coal-mining disaster in West Virginia in nearly 40 years.

One miner is believed to have died from the impact of the early morning explosion at Sago. Twelve others were trapped deep in the mine, and 11 of them died of carbon monoxide poisoning before rescuers could reach them more than 40 hours later.

Today, McCloy is scheduled to be released from a rehabilitation hospital and return home after more than two months of treatment and therapy.

To contact staff writer Ken Ward Jr., use e-mail or call 348-1702.


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