Alton Towers 'deeply saddened' by news The Smiler crash victim had leg amputated

Leah Washington, 17, had to have her left leg amputated above the knee

Lizzie Dearden
Monday 08 June 2015 16:20
Leah Washington was among the four riders seriously injured on a crash on The Smiler at Alton Towers
Leah Washington was among the four riders seriously injured on a crash on The Smiler at Alton Towers

Alton Towers has said it is “deeply saddened” by news that one of the teenagers in The Smiler crash has had her leg amputated.

Leah Washington, 17, is still in a serious condition in hospital after surgery following the accident last week.

She was on a date with her boyfriend, 18-year-old Joe Pugh, when the carriage they were riding in smashed into an empty cart sitting on the track at 20mph.

Doctors at the Royal Stoke University Hospital confirmed that Ms Washington, from Barnsley in South Yorkshire, has had her left leg amputated above the knee and suffered a fractured hand.

A spokesperson for Alton Towers said: "We are deeply saddened by Leah's news, and all our thoughts are with her and her family.

"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."

Daniel Washington, Ms Washington’s father, thanked her family, friends and well-wishers for their support and the doctors who “saved Leah’s life”.

“We would like to thank our family and friends and all the well-wishers for their support,” he added.

“Leah has suffered a life-changing injury and now has many months of rehabilitation ahead of her.”

Leah was on a date with Joe Pugh, 18, when the carriage they were in crashed

Alton Towers re-opened today for the first time since she and three other people were seriously injured in a crash on The Smiler last week.

Mr Pugh suffered two broken knees and extensive hand injuries, while 27-year-old Daniel Thorpe was treated for a collapsed lung and fractured leg.

His girlfriend, Vicky Balch, 20, suffered potentially life-changing injuries in the crash and is in a serious condition but her family have asked doctors not to release further details.

An image from the scene showing one of the Smiler's crashed carriages

Another passenger on the ride reportedly underwent stomach after suffering internal bleeding caused by the accident.

Chanda Singh, 49, from Wednesbury in the 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.

An unnamed patient, who was not seriously injured, was taken to Royal Stoke University Hospital by ambulance from Alton Towers and discharged later that day.

An Air Ambulance leaving Alton Towers with one of the injured riders

The X-Sector of the theme park - which houses The Smiler - will remain closed until further notice to allow the Health and Safety Executive access to the ride for investigations.

Nick Varney, the chief executive of park owners Merlin Entertainments, said Alton Towers has a good safety record and is committed to ensuring people can visit “with confidence”.

He added: “The accident last Tuesday was a terrible event for everyone involved. 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.”

Additional reporting by PA

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