MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The sole survivor of the Sago Mine disaster visited his home for the first time since the Jan. 2 explosion Tuesday, eating a home-cooked lunch and visiting with his family during a three-hour visit.
Afterward, Randal McCloy Jr., 26, returned to the HealthSouth Mountainview Regional Rehabilitation Hospital, where he is going through months of therapy to recover from brain damage and other injuries.
The coal miner's wife, Anna, had refused to return to the family home in Simpson, staying at the hospital or a nearby hotel, until her husband could go with her.
On Tuesday, he made the 45-minute drive with Anna, their two children and brother-in-law Rick McGee, said family spokeswoman Aly Goodwin Gregg.
"It was wonderful, and he was so happy to be home. She was so happy to be home. But what was most telling was how happy those babies were to be home and be in their own space," Gregg said.
The couple has a 4-year-old son and 16-month-old daughter.
McCloy and 12 co-workers entered the Sago Mine to resume production after a holiday shutdown when an 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 kidney, lung, liver and heart damage on Jan. 4 and remained in a coma for weeks.
Today, he is eating on his own and has movement in most of his body. He's also learning to speak again, but doctors say it may be three to six months before he is able to carry on a normal conversation.
In a recent interview, Anna McCloy told The Associated Press her husband is aware of the accident that put him in the hospital but has not asked about the fate of his crew. Nor has she volunteered that information, wanted him to remain focused on recovering.
McCloy was able to walk into his house Tuesday with help from hospital staff. "Anna's mother created this feast, and Randy ate like a horse," Gregg said.