Nine new witnesses to the Hillsborough disaster who helped dying Liverpool fans have come forward following a nationwide appeal.
Officers from Operation Resolve released CCTV images of 18 people they believed may be able to provide important information to the ongoing inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans on Thursday morning.
Within 24 hours, half of the people sought have been identified.
The images were released on behalf of coroner Sir John Goldring.
Investigators today thanked the public for the ‘fantastic’ response - and said more appeals will be made next week.
A spokesman said: “To get 50 per cent in the first 24 hours is really good.”
Operation Resolve was set up by Home Secretary Theresa May to investigate whether any individual or organisation is criminally culpable for their part in the Hillsborough disaster.
The investigation is running parallel to the new inquests into the deaths of supporters at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989.
The inquests opened last year and are expected to run into next year.
Efforts are continuing to find the rest of the people pictured in the CCTV images.
When the appeal was launched earlier this week, Assistant Commissioner Jon Stoddart, the officer in overall command of Operation Resolve, said: “It is important to stress that we believe these people can help the Coroner’s inquest process. I know these pictures are 26 years old but if anyone does recognise the people we need to speak to then I would urge them to get in touch immediately.
“There are still many questions that the families of the 96 have and we believe that these people may be able to provide answers to some of those questions. I have a team of highly trained staff in place who will deal with witnesses sensitively as we understand how difficult some people will find this.
“It is unusual to carry out an appeal of this nature during an ongoing legal process such as the inquests and for that reason I urge people to remember the warning issued by the Coroner at the start of the fresh inquests. It is really important that people do not pass comment on our appeal or any other aspect of the Hillsborough disaster on social media and forums.”
Anyone who can identify any of the people should call 08000 283 284 or visit www.operationresolve.co.uk.