Funerals Held for Miners

1-8-06 - PHILIPPI, W.Va. (AP) - Mourners are saying goodbye to the men who died in a West Virginia coal mine explosion.

Funerals for six of the 12 victims were held today. They were a mostly private affair, with only those who knew the miners and live in the coal mining towns allowed to join the families to grieve.

Meanwhile, West Virginia's Sago Baptist Church held its first Sunday service since Monday's underground blast.

More than 100 people nearly filled the white clapboard building. A bell was rung repeatedly in remembrance of those who perished.

Outside the church, a man whose friend escaped from the mine last week wrote a letter thanking the miners for their sacrifice, and he signed it "a proud West Virginian."

The Sago Baptist Church became a gathering place for families during the vigil for the trapped miners.

Meanwhile, Randal McCloy Junior shows signs of getting better. The survivor of last week's mine explosion remains in critical condition in a Morgantown, West Virginia, hospital.

Relatives are there, and his wife says they're hoping to see him open his eyes.

Anna McCloy also says the family's thoughts and prayers are with the 12 miners who died.

McCloy has been heavily sedated to allow his brain time to heal. His doctor said this morning he's still improving. His left lung has stabilized, and his heart and liver are functioning well. His kidneys are still recovering, and he's being given daily dialysis.

No more announcements are expected from the hospital until tomorrow morning.