‘Fantastic’ fans helped give Hillsborough crush victims CPR

Hillsborough disaster
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An ambulance man who was on duty at the Hillsborough disaster told the new inquests that fans and camera men tried to save the crush victims.

Peter Wells, who was responsible for St John Ambulance’s presence on the day, told the court he initially thought there was a pitch invasion when he saw fans climbing over the Leppings Lane fences.

But he said he realised he was wrong when they sat on the track rather than running onto the pitch.

He said: “I walked up as far as the players’ tunnel and then I realised what was happening and I ran.

“I was greeted with that picture that was in the newspapers, the fans pressed up against the fence.

“When I got there it was obvious they were full and some of the police were already up on the hoardings trying to urge the crowd to go back and I jumped up on the hoardings and assisted my voice to it.”

Mr Wells said he realised people were struggling, adding: “My first thought was ‘we’ve got to get the fence down’.”

He told the court in Warrington he tried to pull a girl from the crowd but couldn’t lift her.

Mr Wells then went to get oxygen to try and help those who were stuck behind the fence.

“It flashed through my mind - we can’t get the fence down, we can’t get to the casualties, they need air - the only thing I can do is get some oxygen.

“I turned the oxygen on and attempted to feed it through the fence to the people who needed it, but the mask was too big to go through the gaps, so I took the mask off and just fed the tube through into people’s mouths who I thought needed it most,” he said.

Mr Wells said he then noticed the gates onto the pitch were open and fans were being dragged out.

He said he provided CPR and oxygen to casualties, and said police officers and even camera men were helping out, as well as fans.

“I never saw any of the ambulance service until later on, when I saw their ambulance on the pitch.

“That’s the first time I saw any of the ambulance service, that I recognised,” he said.

When Mr Wells learned there were ambulances behind the terraces, he said he decided to help them ferry casualties to hospital.

In the first aid room he saw fellow St John ambulance member, David Senior, who told him about 80 people had died.

He said: “It just stopped me dead in my tracks, I couldn’t visualise that.”

Asked about his impression of the police response on the day, Mr Wells said: “The constables and the police on the field at the front of the gates were brilliant.”

Mr Wells added the fans were good on the whole.

He said some supporters were ‘agitated’, but he told the jury the conduct of the fans who assisted with the rescue was ‘fantastic’.

The hearing continues.