Sago Mine Survivor’s Letter

AP via Yahoo! News
Excerpts of a letter sent to victims’ families this week by Randal McCloy Jr., the sole survivor of the Sago Mine disaster. The letter mentions several mining terms: a ‘man-trip’ is a vehicle that transports miners, a ‘rescuer’ is an emergency air pack, and a ‘coal rib’ is a mine wall.

The explosion happened soon after the day shift arrived at the mine face …

The first thing we did was activate our rescuers, as we had been trained. At least four of the rescuers did not function. I shared my rescuer with Jerry Groves, while Junior Toler, Jesse Jones and Tom Anderson sought help from others. There were not enough rescuers to go around.

We attempted to signal our location to the surface by beating on the mine bolts and plates. We found a sledgehammer, and for a long time, we took turns pounding away. …

We eventually gave out and quit our attempts at signaling, sitting down behind the curtain on the mine floor, or on buckets or cans that some of us found. The air behind the curtain grew worse, so I tried to lie as low as possible and take shallow breaths …

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