Alton Towers crash victim ‘will never go on a rollercoaster again’

Joe Pugh , injured in the Alton Towers crash

Joe Pugh , injured in the Alton Towers crash

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A Barnsley teenager whose kneecaps were shattered in the Alton Towers crash last month has said he will never go on a rollercoaster again.

Joe Pugh, who goes to Huddersfield University, was among the five people seriously injured in a crash on The Smiler ride on June 2.

The 18-year-old was left with life-changing injuries after both his kneecaps were shattered when two carriages on a ride collided.

Two of his fingers were broken and he will never regain the use of one, although surgeons were able to reattach the digit.

Mr Pugh was on a date with his girlfriend Leah Washington, 17, who had to have her leg amputated.

He told ITV’s This Morning that she is ‘fine’ and ‘doing really well’.

The couple had been dating for around one month when they decided to go on the Smiler ride, the first rollercoaster Mr Pugh had ever been on.

He said he had his eyes closed as they went round the ride and suddenly ‘felt a bang’.

“I opened my eyes and saw blood and knees splattered onto the carriage in front,” he said during the interview.

“My finger was cut open and I could see bone and the other finger was in half, I could have pulled it off.”

Mr Pugh was terrified he was paralysed at first because he had no feeling in his legs.

“They have said I will always struggle with stairs and will struggle travelling more than 40 minutes without stopping,” he added.

He said he hates using a wheelchair and does not want people to feel sorry for him.

Mr Pugh is adamant that he will not let his injuries stop him returning to the University of Huddersfield in September.

“I’m determined to go back, I don’t want to take a year out,” he said.

He added that he is not angry with Alton Towers and doesn’t want to ‘point blame at anybody’.

But he said there is ‘no way’ he will go on a rollercoaster again.

“Not at this point in time, maybe in ten or 15 years I might change my mind but at the moment definitely not,” he added.

“You would think Alton Towers would be so safe because of how big it is.”

Messages of support for the injured teenager flooded in on Twitter from friends and well-wishers before his television appearance.

The couple, who recently shared a picture of themselves an evening out together, were among five people seriously injured in the crash on The Smiler on 2 June.

Daniel Thorpe, a 27-year-old hotel assistant manager from Buxton in Derbyshire, 20-year-old Vicky Balch from Leyland in Lancashire, and Chandaben Chauhan, 49, of Wednesbury, West Midlands, also suffered injuries.

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