Victims of the Alton Towers Smiler crash have met with the fire crews who saved their lives.
Daniel Thorpe, 28, Leah Washington, 18, Joe Pugh, 18, and Victoria Balch, 20, were all seriously injured when one coaster car slammed into another at the park in June.
Both Washington and Balch lost legs in the accident, while Thorpe suffered a punctured lung and a broken leg. Both of Pugh’s knees were shattered in the crash.
The 25 firefighters from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service crews who attended the scene have been awarded a Chief Fire Officer’s certificate of commendation. The ceremony is thought to be the first time the four victims have been reunited since the crash.
The certificate is the highest commendation award by the Chief Fire Officer and is given to people who have placed their lives at reasonable risk whilst saving others or whose actions have saved lives.
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Peter Dartford said: "As Chief Fire Officer I am extremely proud of the professionalism and sensitivity that our firefighters showed throughout the entire rescue operation and in the aftermath the incident.
“I can’t think of a more deserving team of people to be awarded a certificate of commendation."
Thorpe, who was on the ride with his partner Balch said: "I’m really pleased that all of the firefighters that helped to release us from the ride have received this award.
“They were extremely professional throughout the rescue and even their presence was a huge comfort during a traumatic time. They have been really helpful following the incident, filling in the gaps about things that we don’t remember.
"Having a clearer picture of the events has made it a lot easier to cope with. I can’t thank them enough for everything they have done."
Washington, who was on first date with Pugh when the accident occurred, said: "The crews have been amazing, they were really caring at the time and also visited me in hospital afterwards which was lovely of them.
"They have talked me through what happened and what they did which was really helpful. I was really happy when I heard that they were going to be honoured for what they did to help us, they really deserve the award."