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Alton Towers crash victim Leah Washington tells of phantom limb pain

Published 10/08/2015

The Smiler ride at Alton Towers where Leah Washington was seriously injured
The Smiler ride at Alton Towers where Leah Washington was seriously injured

A teenager who had her leg amputated after being injured in a rollercoaster crash at Alton Towers has spoken of the "burning" pain she still feels in her phantom limb.

Leah Washington was one of five people seriously injured during a crash on the Smiler ride at the Staffordshire theme park in June.

Ms Washington, who turned 18 last month, was with her boyfriend Joe Pugh in the front carriage when it smashed into another cart, leaving them trapped for more than four hours.

Recounting the incident in an interview with ITV News, she remembered seeing shocked faces as people screamed on the ground and on-lookers taking photos, but didn't realise the extent of her injuries because shock numbed the pain.

Ms Washington, from Barnsley in South Yorkshire, said: "I don't remember being in pain until I saw Joe and his injuries and then I realised how bad it was, so then I looked down at my knees and realised, 'this isn't good'.

"I could just see bars into my legs, and then I can remember my feet - I couldn't feel my feet.

"I started trying to wiggle my toes and I couldn't. Someone came running out with scaffolding trying to build to help us, and he was saying we have rung an ambulance, they are coming soon. I can just remember thinking, 'I can't feel my feet, they need to hurry up'."

Ms Washington has said she does not feel anger towards Alton Towers, but is apprehensive about her future.

She also described the agony of seeing her leg after the surgery, saying: "It took a while, but because it were all bandaged up anyway I couldn't really see what it looked like.

"I just knew how long it were. It were hard to look at your leg and it not all being there. I could never get comfortable because of the pain, and I still can't now."

She added that it still feels as if her leg is there, saying : "I can feel my foot sometimes and it's like a burning sensation, like electric shock, a stabbing pain, so it's not nice. It is weird, it is like a sensation that you have never felt before."

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