Hero medics given pride of Britain award for rescuing victims from The Smiler

The Smiler ride at Alton Towers
The Smiler ride at Alton Towers

Medics who worked for hours to rescue those trapped on The Smiler ride, Alton towers have been honoured.

A Pride of Britain award has gone to the Midlands Air Ambulance team for their hard work and courage in treating those who were stuck on the rollercoaster after it collided with a stationary cart on the track on June 2.

Major David Cooper, 34, Tom Waters, 27, and Dr Ben Clark, 40 flouted the safety rules and climbed the structure to deal with the patients.

Tom said: “There were people that needed our care up there the need outweighed the risk.”

David said: “We just did what we needed to do. Lots of people may have waited, but you just can’t do that when someone is in the condition that Leah was.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service assistant chief Steve Wheaton, who coordinated the rescue, said: I”t broke every rule in the book, and under normal circumstances I would never have allowed it.”

Leah Washington, 19, was in the front row of the carriage and one of the most injured ahe was sitting with then boyfriend Joe Pugh.

The main arteries in her leg had been torn in two and the bones were also shattered.

Emergency teams were working at 45 degree angle and more than 30 feet in the air to complete the rescue.

Tom said: “Time flashed by so quickly; I didn’t realise how long we were up there until afterwards, when I found out it was about four hours. This situation was something I’d never experienced before – and doubt I ever will again.”

Leah had to have her leg amputated above the knee.

The medics have been given the award just days after Vicky Balch, another crash victim who was sitting on the front row was told by Merlin Entertainment bosses, who own Alton Towers that they wish to reopen The Smiler.

Vicky, who was on a date with Dan Thorpe from Buxton, has since had her leg amputated below the knee after it was crushed in the crash.

She said: “I don’t want it to open.

“I know that’s not realistic but at the moment I don’t know how many people will want to go on that ride.”

An external investigation by the Health and Safety Executive is underway, but theme park bosses told the victims that a ride operator and engineer were to blame for the crash.

The Pride of Britain awards will be shown on ITV on Thursday, October 1 at 8pm.