Alton Towers victim Joe Pugh has said he is not angry at the theme park after appearing on a morning TV show, some five weeks after an accident that led to two amputations.
Pugh, who suffered two shattered knees, along with tendon and ligament damage, and injuries to his hands, told ITV's Good Morning that since the crash "you couldn't have asked for more" from Alton Towers. He added that he does not "want to point the blame at anyone" until reports into what caused the crash are released.
The 18-year-old was one of five people seriously hurt when the Smiler ride carriage he was in collided with an empty one that had come to a halt on the track ahead of them on June 2.
At the time he was on a date with Leah Washington. Washington, 17, and fellow victim Vicki Balch, 20, have both had a leg amputated following the accident.
Pugh revealed that the rollercoaster attendee had got people on and off the attraction three times before the ride started, which adds weight to suggestions there were concerns about the safety of the ride.
He told the programme: "We'd queued for an hour and a half. I'd already been on the ride four times - I loved it. I wanted to share it with Leah."
Not surprisingly, Pugh said he was unlikely to go on a rollercoaster again: "Maybe in 10 or 15 years, but not now," he said.
The teenager told how he felt "no pain" after the impact, or during the four-and-a-half hours he was trapped, despite being wet with blood, and having the bone of his finger poking out.
"I opened my eyes and saw blood and knees splattered onto the carriage in front," he said.
"My finger was cut open and I could see bone and the other finger was in half, I could have pulled it off."
The pain, he told the programme, was more "mental than physical", the anguish and uncertainly made worse by the fact he had to "scream at people to stop taking pictures".
He said: "It's the day and age we're living in but you don't want them taken."
Later in the ambulance Joe had just two paracetamol.
Pugh brought a wheelchair to the ITV studio but said "I hate using it" and went on to tell how he is exceeding expectations in his recovery.
Pugh explained that doctors had told him he would always "struggle with stairs" and traveling more than 40 minutes at a time, but "yesterday I did three and half hours only stopping once". He said he was determined to return to university and did not want to take a year out to recover.
On the weekend Pugh and Washington were pictured enjoying a meal together in a post on Joe's Facebook page. The picture received over 400 likes and dozens of comments congratulating them on the "beautiful photo of you both".
On the programme Pugh said the accident won't change their relationship. He said: “She’s still the same person. It’s like if you lost a friend because they changed their hair colour, that’s how I thought of it, and if you lose somebody just because they’ve lost a limb then you’re not worth having."
Of their reunion date he said, "it felt like nothing had changed". Washington, he said, was "fine" and "doing well".
Washington, who had her left leg amputated just above her knee, has received some support from unlikely quarters, with Britain's most notorious prisoner, Charles Bronson, sending her a get well soon card.
The gesture followed reports that the 17-year-old had posted a picture of herself standing strong following her operation, surrounded by friends and supporters. Vicky had her right leg amputated below the knee after seven operations to save it just over a week ago.
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