South Yorkshire man injured in Alton Towers crash speaks out for first time

Joe Pugh

Joe Pugh

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A South Yorkshire teenager injured when a rollercoaster crashed at Alton Towers theme park said he is ‘overwhelmed’ with the response following the accident.

Eighteen-year-old Joe Pugh was riding on the front row of a carriage on The Smiler thrill ride with his girlfriend Leah Washington when it crashed into an empty carriage in front.

He tweeted: “So overwhelmed with the response I’ve had from my accident at Alton Towers, thankyou for everyone’s concern.”

The Huddersfield University textile design student, who works as a bartender at Ardlsey Oaks Working Men’s Club in Barnsley, is said to have broken his legs in the collision.

Leah, aged 17, was also seriously hurt.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said two men, aged 27 and 18, a woman aged 19, and a 17-year-old girl were left with serious leg injuries.

A statement from the club where Joe works, said: “After hearing the news about the terrible accident at Alton Towers it has to come to our attention that a member of our staff was involved. We at the oaks Wmc would like to extend our prayers and best wishes in the speedy recovery of our barman Joe Pugh and his girlfriend Leah Washington.

“Please be respectful of the families’ wishes as we don’t have all the details of the incident as their attention will be focused on Joe and Leah’s recovery.

“All we hope is that they both recover and we have Joe back behind the bar as soon as possible.”

A spokesman for Oaks WMC added: “As soon as we saw the pictures on the news we knew it was Joe. He has a style that everybody knows. He started working here in February and he has done a lot of shifts since then.

“Joe lives with his parents and commutes to university in Huddersfield. His girlfriend lives in this area too.

“Joe is a nice lad and we hope that he will be ok. We could see on the news that he was on a stretcher but we don’t know the extent of his injuries.”