MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Hank Williams Jr. visited the lone survivor of the West Virginia coal mine disaster Wednesday and recalled his own long recovery after tumbling off a mountain in the 1970s.
Williams visited privately with Randal McCloy Jr. and his family at Ruby Memorial Hospital. McCloy, who remained in a partial coma, spent more than 41 hours trapped inside the Sago Mine exposed to toxic gases. Twelve other miners died.
McCloy's wife, Anna, told reporters last week that her husband liked Williams' music.
"It just hit me like a ton of bricks because I had a big mountain fall in the '70s, and they said I wouldn't live," Williams told Pittsburgh television station KDKA. "It really, really affected me and I said, 'I've just got to go there and meet the family.'"
In 1975, Williams fell more than 440 feet down a Montana mountain and suffered severe facial and head injuries. He underwent several surgeries and spent two years recovering.
Back then, Williams said he was touched by a hospital visit from a pair of famous people. "June Carter and Johnny Cash were there when I came around and it meant a lot," he said.