Hillsborough: Man reunited with 'hero' who saved him

Joe Smith
Image caption Joe Smith was pulled from the crush at Hillsborough as a boy

A Flintshire man who saved an eight-year-old boy from the crush at the Hillsborough disaster has been reunited with him.

Joe Smith, 35, from Kirkby in Merseyside, launched a Facebook appeal after seeing himself on someone's shoulders on a BBC Two documentary.

He was put in touch with rescuer John McMahon, from Connah's Quay, and they met for the first time on Thursday.

Mr McMahon said: "It was quite a surreal moment."

Mr Smith travelled with his stepfather and brother to watch Liverpool play Nottingham Forest in the FA cup semi-final on 15 April 1989.

He said the response to his appeal had been "beyond anything I could have imagined" after the post was shared 145,000 times.

He described Mr McMahon as "my hero".

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Media captionJoe Smith and John McMahon have not seen each other since the Hillsborough disaster in 1989

Mr McMahon was on holiday in Antigua when he was contacted by friends who recognised him from the appeal.

He returned home on Wednesday and was reunited with Mr Smith for the first time in 27 years the following day.

"It's been great for us to reconnect... the rest of the survivors are all heroes, giving their evidence to the inquiries and helped the families all the way," he said.

Mr Smith added: "I was trying to get some personal closure from the disaster, I credited John with saving my life and to be able to have the chance to thank him for that and to see him finally after all this time will bring that kind of closure."

Inquests last month concluded 96 fans who died in the crush were unlawfully killed.

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