Saturday Tallmansville Miners Update

Randal McCloy Jr. remains critically ill in a medically induced coma in Pittsburgh, and doctors say they now believe that he has suffered brain damage. But doctors say he is showing dramatic improvements in both his organs and his brain function. Hospital officials say that his muscles are improving, along with his liver and heart functions. In addition, the swelling around his brain is going down as well.

Meanwhile, the daughter of 61-year-old Jim Bennett, who was one of the twelve miners who died in the tragedy, left behind a detailed note showing that he and his co-workers were alive hours after the explosion. The note is said to have three or four entries, the first coming Monday at 11:40 am, and the last, in words that trailed off the page, at 4:25 pm. (NOTE: This AP article says that it's close to 10 hours. From the two times they give, that's actually around 5 hours.) His wife has been playing CD's of his favorite band, Metallica, to help ease his pain.

The first visitations for the victims of the Sago Mine tragedy were scheduled for Saturday, and six funerals were planned for Sunday. The bodies were turned over after medical experts concluded autopsies. State law prohibits publicly releasing autopsy results. Before the visitations, the 145 employees of the Sago Mine met with International Coal Group's head Ben Hatfield for the first time since Monday's explosion to discuss when they can return to work, and if there were any temporary jobs available. An eight-person team has been appointed by the MSHA to investigate the blast.

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