South Yorkshire man has ‘two broken legs’ after Alton Towers rollercoaster accident

Joe Pugh
Joe Pugh

An 18-year-old man from Barnsley has ‘two broken legs’ after being involved in rollercoaster accident at Alton Towers.

Joe Pugh, a student at Huddersfield University studying textile design, is also bartender at Ardsley Oaks Working Mens Club in Barnsley.

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Joe was on The Smiler with his girlfriend Leah Washington, 17, when it smashed into another carriage and injured both of them yesterday.

His manager Steve Hibbert said: “All I know is what I’ve heard and that is that Joe has two broken legs and his girlfriend was airlifted for emergency surgery.”

“We hope Joe’s OK. He’s only been here since February and he is part-time but he seems like a really nice kid and gets on with his job.

All the girls that work here are really up set and are waiting to hear from him. We just want him to recover.”

Two men aged 27 and 18 and two teenage girls aged 19 and 17 were left with serious leg injuries after their carriage on the Staffordshire theme park’s Smiler ride ploughed into another empty carriage.

There are reports that one of those injured lost a leg in the crash.

In an official statement a spokesman for the working mens club 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 the 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.”

In total four people were taken to Royal Stoke University Hospital, including one who has since been discharged, and one person was taken to University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire.

Another 11 people required medical treatment as a result of the accident.

The £18m rollercoaster, which boasts a world record 14 loops, has been closed on two occasions because of safety concerns since opening two years ago.

The ride shut for four days in July 2013 after a piece of the track fell off, and 48 people had to be rescued.

Alton Towers is now closed while an investigation continues into the accident and it is not known when it will reopen.

Merlin Entertainments, has run Alton Towers since buying out previous owner the Tussauds Group in May 2007.