Smiler crash victim ‘wanted to die’


Published: Tuesday 16th June 2015 by The News Editor

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A victim of the Alton Towers rollercoaster crash who faces having her leg amputated said she “just wanted to die” as she waited hours to be rescued from the ride.

Vicky Balch, 20, from Lancashire, is among five people who were seriously injured when the Smiler ride collided with an empty carriage on June 2.

Her lawyer Paul Paxton said she is “battling” to save her leg following the crash, which led to fellow victim Leah Washington, 17, having her leg amputated above the knee.

Miss Balch was sitting in the front seats alongside Miss Washington, Miss Washington’s boyfriend Joe Pugh, 18, who shattered his knee, and Daniel Thorpe, 27, a hotel assistant-manager from Buxton in Derbyshire who was treated for a collapsed lung and fractured leg.

Chandaben Chauhan, 49, of Wednesbury, West Midlands, also suffered injuries.

Speaking for the first time about the crash and the four-and-a-half-hour wait for rescue, Miss Balch told the BBC: “It felt like slow motion. We banged into the car in front. I felt the bars go into my knees; we moved backwards and the car went into us again.

“I passed out. I was awoken by Dan shouting my name. Everyone was screaming and I was in excruciating pain. I looked down and I could see blood all over.

“The bars were in my right knee.

“The only thought that was going through my mind for the hours and hours that we were stuck was that we were going to die. If I was going to survive I would never walk again, that was certain.

“I thought it was never going to end. I just wanted to die.”

Mr Paxton, head of the personal injury department at Stewarts Law, also revealed how Miss Washington’s father discovered his daughter was involved in the crash after recognising her from television coverage of the aftermath.

“Certainly Leah’s father was aware for many an hour that his daughter was on the ride,” he told the BBC. “The only comfort, if that’s the right way to put it, was that it wasn’t clear early on the full extent of the injuries.”

The lawyer believes compensation for the victims could run in to million of pounds.

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.”

Published: Tuesday 16th June 2015 by The News Editor

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