IT has emerged today that the 17-year-old girl injured in a rollercoaster crash at Alton Towers whilst on her first date last Tuesday has had her leg amputated.
Leah Washington was on the front row of the Smiler ride, with three others when is crashed into an empty carriage on the track.
Her boyfriend, textile student Joe Pugh, 18, was also badly hurt. He was treated for broken knees and a head injury but is now said to be making a good recovery.
Two others who were also in the front row sustained serious leg injuries, while a fifth person is being treated for internal injuries.
Leah Washington’s father, David Washington, from Barnsley, said: “Leah has suffered a life-changing injury and now has many months of rehabilitation ahead of her.”
Her leg was amputated above the left knee and she also suffered a fractured left hand.
Nick Varney, CEO Merlin Entertainments, said: “We are deeply saddened by the news about Leah and all our thoughts are with her and her family.
“We cannot undo the events of last week but everyone in the company and at Alton Towers is determined to do all we can to provide appropriate support to those who were injured and their families.”
Alton Towers reopened earlier today, but The X-Sector, which houses The Smiler, will remain closed until further notice to allow the Health and Safety Executive access to the ride for investigations.
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.
Alton Towers has pledged to pay compensation to every victim on board the rollercoaster that crashed last week and admitted responsibility to those injured in the horror smash.
In a letter to all 16 people hurt when The Smiler crashed, Merlin Entertainment, the company that owns the theme park, said it had told the victims to instruct a lawyer to submit a claim for compensation which would be dealt with “swiftly”.
The group said in a statement:
“Since the accident of last Tuesday we have done our best to provide appropriate communication and support to those involved and to their families.
“We absolutely recognise what a difficult time this is for everyone, especially those who have been so seriously injured, and we have tried to do this in a way that is both sensitive and appropriate
“Over the course of the weekend we have written again to all of the 16 people involved or to their families. These letters were all hand delivered by Alton Towers representatives.
“Irrespective of the outcome of the current investigations into the causes of the accident, in these letters we have accepted full responsibility to those who had been injured in the accident and confirmed that we will ensure that compensation will be provided to them.
“We have recommended each of the injured guests or their families instruct a lawyer and submit a claim for compensation which we will ensure is dealt with swiftly and sensitively.
“In addition we have engaged the services of Health and Case Management Ltd (HCML) – a leading firm of specialist independent rehabilitation providers – to provide all of those involved with the best support for their individual needs whether from the NHS or by providing additional support and services. HCML have already made contact with some of those affected in order to progress this.”