Rollercoaster crash: Teenager had her leg amputated in UK - CVIEW NEWS

News, Updates, Human Angle Stories, Investigations & Research from the kaleidoscope of thorough bred journalists...

Breaking

Monday, 8 June 2015

Rollercoaster crash: Teenager had her leg amputated in UK

  • Four people were seriously injured when Smiler ride crashed last week
  • It emerged today that 17-year-old needed to have her left leg amputated
  • Her boyfriend is said to be in a stable condition after breaking both legs
  • Park re-opened today but some who visited described it as a 'ghost town'

A 17-year-old girl has had her leg amputated above the knee after she was involved in last week's Alton Towers rollercoaster crash, it emerged today.
Leah Washington, of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was on a first date with new boyfriend Joe Pugh when their carriage of the Smiler ride ploughed into another carriage.
Hospital bosses have confirmed that she needed an amputation above her left knee after being airlifted for treatment in Stoke-on-Trent after the crash, in which she also fractured her left hand.
Leah's injuries emerged as Alton Towers was reopened to the public, with some visitors describing it as 'ghost town'.
Scroll down for video 
Leah Washington has had her left leg amputated above the knee after she was involved in the Alton Towers crash last week
Joe Pugh, pictured with Leah, has broken both of his knees
Leah Washington (left and, right, with boyfriend Joe Pugh) has had her left leg amputated above the knee after she was involved in the Alton Towers crash last week. Joe has broken both of his knees
Alton Towers reopened today for the first time since the crash although some rides remain closed
Alton Towers reopened today for the first time since the crash although some rides remain closed
Signs at the park today showed the X-Sector, which includes the Smiler ride involved in the crash, was closed to the public
Signs at the park today showed the X-Sector, which includes the Smiler ride involved in the crash, was closed to the public
Signs showed the X-Sector, which includes the Smiler ride involved in the crash, was closed to the public
A spokesman for Royal Stoke University Hospital described Leah's condition as 'serious but stable'.
Her father David Washington said: 'Leah has suffered a life-changing injury and now has many months of rehabilitation ahead of her.'
Another rider on the carriage which crashed has said Leah was given a blood transfusion and morphine while she was trapped and passed out before being freed after four hours.
Leah's father said today that her family had released details of her injuries 'to put people's minds at rest' and added: 'We would like to thank all the emergency services at the scene and all the hospital staff who saved Leah's life.'
Mr Washington added: 'We would like to thank our family and friends and all the well-wishers for their support.' 
Leah's boyfriend, Joe Pugh, a textile design student at Huddersfield University is said to be in a stable condition after suffering two broken knees and extensive hand injuries.
Simon Pugh, Joe's father, said: 'I would like to thank our friends and family for their support.
'We would also like to thank the staff at the hospital who have been very accommodating, have been lovely to us and have protected our privacy.
'We would ask people to respect Joe's privacy now and over the weeks and months ahead.'
The condition of Vicky Balch - who was also seriously injured along with her friend Daniel Thorpe - was also described as 'serious but stable', although no further details of her injuries were released.
A statement by Stewarts Law, who are representing her family, said: 'Victoria, who is at university studying international spa management, is still undergoing surgery, further to significant leg injuries but her condition is not life-threatening.
'This is certainly not how she intended to celebrate her 20th birthday today. The family remain grateful for the stream of good wishes.'
Leah, pictured, was on a first date with her new boyfriend Joe Pugh when the accident happened
Leah was on a first date with her new boyfriend Joe Pugh, pictured, when the accident happened
Leah, left, was on a first date with her new boyfriend Joe Pugh, right, when the accident happened
Witnesses said Leah was given a blood transfusion and morphine at the scene of the crash last Tuesday
Witnesses said Leah was given a blood transfusion and morphine at the scene of the crash last Tuesday
Daniel Thorpe was also seriously injured in the crash last Tuesday
Vicky Balch was also seriously injured in the crash last Tuesday
Daniel Thorpe (left) and his friend Vicky Balch (right) were also seriously injured in the crash last Tuesday
A spokesman for Coventry hospital, where 27-year-old hotel assistant manager Mr Thorpe is being treated, described his condition as 'stable'. The extent of his injuries are not known.
Alton Towers said it was 'deeply saddened' by news of Leah's condition, adding that it will 'provide full support to all of those involved now, and throughout their recovery and rehabilitation'.
Another passenger on the ride reportedly had surgery to her stomach after suffering internal bleeding in the crash.
Chanda Singh, 49, from Wednesbury, West Midlands, was sitting in the second row of The Smiler with her daughters Meera, 26, and Vanisha, 29.
Meera told the BBC that the family returned home in a taxi after the crash before going to Manor Hospital in Walsall, where her mother had surgery to her stomach and is receiving treatment for a damaged liver and blood clots. 
The park reopened to the public today after shutting its gates following the crash. Owners refused to compare entry numbers with days before the accident.
Visitors began entering the theme park - which had been closed since Tuesday - from 10am this morning, as the chief executive of the park's owner, Merlin Entertainments, insisted it is committed to ensuring people can visit again 'with confidence'.
The X-Sector of Alton Towers - which houses The Smiler - will remain closed until further notice to allow the Health and Safety Executive access to the ride for investigations.
The park reopened to the public today, with owners saying 'several thousand' people had entered for the day
The park reopened to the public today, with owners saying 'several thousand' people had entered for the day
Visitors to the attraction today described it as a 'ghost town', saying they had never seen it so quiet
Visitors to the attraction today described it as a 'ghost town', saying they had never seen it so quiet
Others said they had visited because they believed it would be the safest day to go to the theme park
Others said they had visited because they believed it would be the safest day to go to the theme park
The Spinball ride will also be closed at the Staffordshire theme park until enhanced safety protocols have been implemented, but Merlin Entertainments said this would take slightly longer than it had hoped due to the design of the ride.  
Two rides at other Merlin Entertainments parks, Thorpe Park, and Chessington World of Adventures - both in Surrey - will also remain closed until new safety protocols can be implemented. But these are expected to reopen soon. 
Daniel Proctor, 30, from Newport, Wales, said: 'I've been to Alton Towers six or seven times before, all outside of the usual busy periods, but I've never known it this quiet.
'It's like a ghost town. It's great in a way because we've been able to go on loads of the rides without the normal queues but I think it's inevitable lots of people have been put off coming because of last week's crash.
'It hasn't put me off though, I bought my ticket a while ago and as soon as I heard the park was going to be open I bombed straight up the motorway to get in early.'
Nemesis - one of the park's main rides which has an average waiting time of half an hour - was reporting no queue at 3pm this afternoon.
Among those entering Alton Towers today were Nina Lancaster and Daniella Dobson, who brought their 15-year-old daughters along because they 'thought today would be the safest day'.
Mrs Lancaster said they had booked the trip about a month ago while their children had a day off school in Leeds, and were determined to go.
'We wanted to come, and the girls were really excited when they found out yesterday that it would open today,' she said.
It took four hours for rescuers to remove all of those injured, who were trapped 25 feet from the ground
It took four hours for rescuers to remove all of those injured, who were trapped 25 feet from the ground
Mrs Dobson said she was more cautious about going, but took the view safety precautions would be at their highest on today of all days.
'We didn't want to let the children down,' she added.
Asked what rides they would be heading to first, Mrs Lancaster said she did not know but on the journey down told daughter Sophie and Daniella's daughter Jo 'they can't go on the front or the back'. 
Paddy O'Shaughnessy, Tanya Wolff, Gareth Mcgahan and Christine Hopkin, from Nottingham, had all taken a day off work to spend time at the park. 
Mr O'Shaughnessy said: 'It was this, or Skegness. We were gutted when they first closed it. It's a shame what happened, but it hasn't put us off.'
Sixteen people were injured on The Smiler ride when the carriage they were in collided with another which had come to a halt on the track.
One man who was on the ride when it crashed described the moment he 'held on for dear life' as the carriages collided, before he saw blood dripping from an injured woman in front of him.
The man, who gave his name only as Oli, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, told Heart North West radio station: 'As we came round the corner we probably only had a second or two to see it.
'Obviously we all just screamed and held on for dear life as we hit the back of it. We moved forwards and backwards with the force until we came to a stop at 45 degrees.
'It was a severe jolt. The people in front where they hit it were obviously in quite a lot of pain so they were screaming. A lot of people were coming to the side of the barrier and the people in front were screaming 'Get some help, get some help'. 
The ride had been closed earlier in the day and test carriages were sent out to see if the ride was working
The ride had been closed earlier in the day and test carriages were sent out to see if the ride was working
The crash involved 16 people - four of whom were seriously injured and airlifted to hospital
The crash involved 16 people - four of whom were seriously injured and airlifted to hospital
He added: 'There was a lot of blood coming from the carriage in front. It was dripping all over the floor. There was quite a lot of blood coming from them.
'I thought (it was) the guy in front of me. I saw at some point he had cut his face, but it was actually coming from the girl next to him who had the severely damaged leg.'
Merlin is thought to have racked up losses of around £500,000 a day since the incident and it has also faced accusations that staff dithered for 10 minutes before making the first 999 call, despite screams of distress from bloodied passengers on board The Smiler.
Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin Entertainments, said the incident was a 'terrible event' for everyone involved.
He said: 'We are very aware of the impact it will have on those involved and we are doing all we can to provide our support to those injured and their families.'
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has removed the carriages involved in the crash and taken them to the Health and Safety Laboratory in Buxton for further analysis.
A Merlin Entertainments spokesman said: 'We never discuss visitor figures but what we can say is that the decision to re-open was made at 5.30pm last night and we have several thousand people in the park.
'Not everyone can drop everything on a weekday and we are very happy with the response.'
Undeterred: (Left to right) Paddy O'Shaughnessy, Tanya Wolff, Gareth McGahan and Christine Hopkin said they had not been put off by the crash as they entered the newly-reopened park this morning
Undeterred: (Left to right) Paddy O'Shaughnessy, Tanya Wolff, Gareth McGahan and Christine Hopkin said they had not been put off by the crash as they entered the newly-reopened park this morning


No comments:

Post a Comment

Pages