MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) – The sole survivor of a mine explosion that killed 12 fellow miners emerged from a light coma Wednesday but still cannot speak, his doctor said.

Randal McCloy Jr., who had been in a coma since his Jan. 4 rescue, is able to respond to simple commands and follow movements with his eyes, said Dr. Larry Roberts at Ruby Memorial Hospital. He also is able to chew and swallow soft foods.

McCloy, 26, of Simpson, may have suffered brain damage from the carbon monoxide exposure in the mine, but the extent of any damage is not yet known. He has developed a slight fever but remains in fair condition.

Roberts said McCloy continues to show slight neurological improvement each day.

Aly Goodwin Gregg, the family’s spokeswoman, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Lara Ramsburg, spokesman for Gov. Joe Manchin, said McCloy “continues to be a miracle and the governor is extremely pleased with his progress.”

McCloy survived the Jan. 2 blast at the Sago mine and more than 41 hours of exposure to deadly carbon monoxide. For days, he had hovered near consciousness, but doctors would not classify him as out of the coma until he was fully awake.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

AP-ES-01-25-06 1843EST


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