Hillsborough pitch ambulances 'never considered'

Hillsborough pitch scene Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption South Yorkshire Ambulance official Gerald Wilkinson said he did not think the pitch was a safe place for ambulances

An ambulance chief who helped draft the emergency plan for Hillsborough said it was "never considered" ambulances would ever need access to the pitch.

Gerald Wilkinson, of South Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said he had believed the pitch was not a safe place for ambulances to be driven on.

He told the Hillsborough inquests this was based on the experience of the 1985 fire at Bradford City's ground.

Ninety-six fans died as a result of the crush at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989.

Mr Wilkinson, who was assistant district officer for South Yorkshire Ambulance Service when the plan was created, said: "After the Bradford fire I didn't think the pitch was a wise place to put ambulances."

He added: "A football pitch isn't the largest area in the world. Very quickly you can carry people off to somewhere safer."

'Police first aid'

He also said the pitch was seen as a place to assess and treat casualties.

Mr Wilkinson said at the time the emergency plan was drawn up, ambulances could deal with less at the scene of an incident than modern ambulances.

The inquests also heard from John Castley, former chief steward at the Hillsborough Kop end of the stadium, who said he wrote in a questionnaire for the 1990 Taylor Report into the disaster that more police officers should have given first aid.

Mr Castley said he went to Leppings Lane end after spotting something was wrong from the Kop.

He added it did not look like a pitch invasion and said when he arrived at the Leppings Lane end he saw many people in distress.

Mr Castley told the jury he gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to one man who had stopped breathing.

The inquests continue.

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