A 17-year-old girl from South Yorkshire has had her left leg amputated above the knee after suffering life-changing injuries in last week’s Alton Towers crash, doctors revealed today.
Leah Washington, from Barnsley, also suffered a fractured left hand in a crash on The Smiler ride.
She remains in hospital in a serious but stable condition.
Her boyfriend Joe Pugh suffered two broken knees and extensive hand injuries in the crash.
The details have been made public as Alton Towers reopened to the public today for the first time since the crash on Tuesday.
David Washington, Leah’s father, said: “We would like to thank our family and friends and all the well-wishers for their support.
“Leah has suffered a life-changing injury and now has many months of rehabilitation ahead of her.
“We have done this to put people’s minds at rest and we would also ask everyone to respect Leah’s privacy as she undergoes this rehabilitation.
“We would like to thank all the emergency services at the scene and all the hospital staff who saved Leah’s life.”
Simon Pugh, Joe’s father, said: “I would like to thank our friends and family for their support.
“We would also like to thank the staff at the hospital who have been very accommodating,have been lovely to us and have protected our privacy.
“We would ask people to respect Joe’s privacy now and over the weeks and months ahead.”
The third patient being treated at hospital in Stoke, Vicky Balch, is described as being in a serious but stable condition.
A spokesman for the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust said: “Clinicians at Royal Stoke University Hospital continue to treat three patients who were admitted via the Major Trauma Centre following serious injuries sustained in the incident at Alton Towers last week.”
An Alton Towers spokeswoman said: “We are deeply saddened by Leah’s news, and all our thoughts are with her and her family.
“We have made contact with all the families and have assured them that we will provide full support to all of those involved now, and throughout their recovery and rehabilitation.”
Sixteen people in total were injured on The Smiler ride when the carriage they were in collided with another that had come to a halt on the track.
Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin Entertainments, which owns Alton Towers, said the incident was a “terrible event” for everyone involved.
He added: “We are very aware of the impact it will have on those involved and we are doing all we can to provide our support to those injured and their families.
“We closed the park immediately whilst preliminary investigations took place and to give our staff time to come to terms with the accident and its aftermath.
“In recent days our management team have been engaged in a thorough review of our operating and safety procedures before making this decision.”
While the park has reopened, the X-Sector of the Staffordshire theme park - which houses The Smiler - will remain closed until further notice to allow the Health and Safety Executive access to the ride for investigations.
The Spinball ride will be closed until enhanced safety protocols have been implemented, but Merlin Entertainments said that this would take slightly longer than it had hoped due to the design of the ride.
Two rides at other Merlin Entertainments parks, Thorpe Park, and Chessington World of Adventures - both in Surrey - will also remain closed until new safety protocols can be implemented. But these are expected to reopen soon.
Merlin is thought to have racked up losses of around £500,000 a day since the incident and it has also faced accusations staff dithered for 10 minutes before making the first 999 call, despite screams of distress from bloodied passengers on board The Smiler.
Yesterday the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) removed the carriages involved in the crash and took them to the Health and Safety Laboratory in Buxton for further analysis.
It confirmed evidence gathering by inspectors had finished at the theme park in Staffordshire, and that a Prohibition notice had been served on the rollercoaster stopping its use until action is taken to deal with the cause of the failure.
Neil Craig, Head of Operations for HSE in the Midlands said: “The Notice is specific to the ‘Smiler’ ride and does not affect other rides at the park. HSE expects the park operator to apply any early learning from the incident to wider risk management at the site.”
Also badly injured in the crash are Daniel Thorpe, a 27-year-old hotel assistant manager from Buxton in Derbyshire and Vicky Balch, 20, from Leyland in Lancashire.
Ms Balch, suffered potentially life-changing injuries in the crash, and is expected to make a “substantial claim for damages” to support her recovery.
Commenting on the latest legal position, Paul Paxton, a partner at Stewarts Law said: “We have contacted the Health and Safety Executive and hope to be able to discuss with Merlin’s insurers and their legal team as early as next week.”
During its close the park had offered guests with pre-booked tickets the option to use their tickets at an alternative attraction.
Those with pre-booked tickets were also able to obtain a full refund or alternative dated tickets.