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Alton Towers Smiler Crash Amputee Victoria Balch, 20, Speaks Of Amputation ‘Relief’

September 16, 2015

A woman who required a leg amputation following a rollercoaster crash at Alton Towers theme park has described the operation as a “relief”.

Victoria Balch, 20, from Lancashire, had six rounds of surgery in a bid to to save her leg.

But she told the Victoria Derbyshire programme the pain had become a burden following an infection.

Ms Balch was one of five people who sustained serious injuries on the Smiler ride on 2 June.

She was sitting in the front of the ride alongside Leah Washington, Joe Pugh and Daniel Thorpe, when it hit an empty carriage.

The crash left them and 12 other people trapped 25ft (7.6m) above the ground. They were rescued by firefighters using a hydraulic platform.

‘Unable to move’

Ms Balch said: “After the third operation it was looking good – I thought I might be able to walk again.

“But the bad news came before my seventh operation, by which time I was exhausted. I had spent so much time asleep.

“My mum noticed something going on with my leg. I had stopped being able to move as well, and people started needing to help me move around again.”

Her right leg had become infected and required an amputation. More acute surgery followed to extend the amputation above the knee, on the advice of her surgeon.

Ms Balch described losing her leg as feeling “like a burden had been taken away”.

“The leg was so painful that I couldn’t do anything with it,” she added.

Learning to walk

Ms Balch has been receiving physiotherapy at the Specialist Mobility Rehabilitation Centre in Preston.

She has now progressed onto crutches, having previously used a wheelchair, and has recently been provided with her own prosthetic with which she can begin learning to walk again.

It is a process she says left her “shaking” with apprehension during the first attempt, but the University of Derby student has a clear goal.

“I’m graduating in November, so I want to be able to walk with a crutch. I just want a leg so at graduation I can say ‘look how far I’ve come’.

Ms Balch said that while most people have been supportive, she had also encountered “staring and pointing” while shopping for the first time following the crash.

She said of Alton Towers: “I do think they’re doing everything they can for the families.”

Ms Balch said she had received weekly visits from staff following the crash.

“It’s not their fault personally – they’re normal people that have families,” she added.

Merlin Entertainment, which owns the theme park, said it had contacted those injured and all 16 on board at the time of the crash will receive compensation. It said the incident was the first accident in the company’s history.

Lawyer Paul Paxton, from Stewarts Law, who is representing Ms Balch among other crash victims, told the BBC in June that victims had received their first interim insurance payments to help with their rehabilitation.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 16, 2015 9:15 am

    Reblogged this on perfectlyfadeddelusions.

  2. Bookworm permalink
    September 16, 2015 9:49 am

    “Staring and pointing” this makes me so angry. However this awful accident does go to prove that anyone can become disabled overnight which is why we need to hold the govt to account for all the welfare cuts not only for people now but in the future too.

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