A leading ambulanceman said bolt croppers kept on board could have cut fences to free those being crushed to death at the Hillsborough disaster.
Peter Litster made the claim when telling jurors at the Hillsborough inquests about the type of equipment kept in rescue boxes on ambulances.
Ninety-six Liverpool FC fans died after being crushed on the terrace at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium at the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest in April 1989.
Mr Litster said the rescue boxes contained a hacksaw, gloves, pliers, rope, a wrecking bar and industrial bolt croppers, which could cut through steel ‘very easily’.
But Jenni Richards, on behalf of the ambulance service, said the jury had heard from other witnesses who claimed they would not have cut through the fences easily.
Ms Richards asked Mr Litster about his encounter with assistant chief ambulance officer David Jones during the rescue efforts on the day of the disaster, who he claimed to have seen banging his personal radio against a wall and saying it was not working.
She went on to ask about him about a newspaper report, in which Mr Litster was described as having said ‘senior officers completely broke down’ during the rescue effort.
Mr Litster said that referred to the fact that there was no senior officer there.
Ms Richards claimed the only senior officer whose conduct Mr Litster criticised was that of Mr Jones.
Mr Litster said: “When I went to the gymnasium after the event, the officers there appeared to be of similar transparency as Mr Jones, standing up against the back of the wall, rather pale and looking in a shocked state.
Asked how a brief conversation he had with Mr Jones translated into him describing him as a headless chicken, Mr Litster said: “I worked tirelessly to try to save as many people as possible and I needed to have some support, which was very much lacking on the event.”
Ms Richards said Mr Jones disputes Mr Litster’s account of his reaction.
The hearings at Warrington continues.