Barnsley teenager ‘nervous for future’ after losing leg in rollercoaster crash

Leah Washington suffered an amputation above the left knee after the accident at Alton Towers
Leah Washington suffered an amputation above the left knee after the accident at Alton Towers
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A teenager from Barnsley who had her left leg amputated after a rollercoaster crash has recalled breaking down in tears when she saw her injury.

Leah Washington, who turned 18 last month, has also spoke of her concerns about having to take a ‘different path’ in life.

The teenager was one of five people seriously injured in the Smiler crash at Alton Towers in June.

She had been at the theme park with her boyfriend Joe Pugh and was in the front of the carriage as it collided with another, leading to a four-hour rescue operation.

Leah revealed she begged the surgeon not to tell her she had lost a limb.

She said: “It took me a long time to look at my injury. When I did, I burst into tears.”

Leah described seeing the other carriage in front and thinking the crash would be ‘like a bumper car ride’, but after the collision she saw those around her were injured and realised the safety bar was digging into her left leg and saw flesh on the seat in front.

Looking to the future, she said she is apprehensive but is trying to get used to a different way of life.

Leah said she gets tired using crutches, but does not like being in a wheelchair as people often stare.

She said: “I’m nervous for the future. My life is on hold while my friends are moving forward, having their own cars and leaving home.

“I’ll have a different path and a different life.”

The teen said she does not feel anger towards the Staffordshire theme park, whose owner Merlin Entertainments has accepted responsibility for the crash, but added she wants to know what went wrong so it does not happen again.

Her boyfriend Joe, 18, was also injured in the crash.

Vicky Balch, 20, from Leyland in Lancashire, also had to have her leg amputated after the crash.

Daniel Thorpe, 27, of Buxton, Derbyshire, and Chandaben Chauhan, 49, of West Midlands, were also injured.