Stoke & Staffordshire

Alton Towers crash victim describes 'sickening bang'

Joe Pugh and Leah Washington Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Joe Pugh's knees were shattered in the accident, while his girlfriend Leah has since had her leg amputated

A man injured in the Alton Towers rollercoaster crash has described for the first time the "sickening bang" he heard as the ride's carriages collided.

Joe Pugh, 18, was on the Smiler with his girlfriend Leah Washington, 17, when the accident happened on 2 June.

His knees were shattered in the crash and she has since had a leg amputated.

"I remember a sickening bang with metal grinding against metal and the safety bar being rammed against my knees," he told the Mail on Sunday.

"I looked at my hands and there was blood everywhere."

The pair were among five people seriously injured in the crash which resulted in the Staffordshire theme park closing for six days.

Miss Washington, 17, from Barnsley in South Yorkshire, suffered the most serious injuries, having her left leg amputated above the knee and being treated for a fractured hand.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Smiler, Oblivion, Enterprise and Sonic Spinball rides were closed at Alton Towers

Mr Pugh said he and the others on the ride had been forced to get off twice before it began so staff could carry out safety checks. He also said there was a 20-minute delay when the rollercoaster paused at the top of one of the rollercoaster hills.

He said they "couldn't believe what we were seeing" when the crash happened and they were left stuck in the carriage at an angle of 45 degrees.

He described becoming annoyed when he saw a girl filming himself and the others trapped on the ride and remains "angry" about the crash, insisting someone should have realised the empty train was on the track and the ride should have been shut down.

Mr Pugh vowed he would never go on the Smiler ride again.

On Wednesday, Leah's brother told the BBC her "health and spirits had improved dramatically".

Daniel Thorpe, a 27-year-old old hotel assistant manager from Buxton, Derbyshire, 20-year-old Vicky Balch from Leyland in Lancashire, and Chandaben Chauhan, 49, of Wednesbury, West Midlands, also suffered injuries.

Alton Towers has said it is in contact with the victims of the crash and their families.

A spokesman said: "We have made contact with all the families and have assured them that we will provide full support to all of those involved, now and throughout their recovery and rehabilitation."

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