Leah Washington shares a post to mark five years since the crash

Alton Towers crash amputee Leah Washington shares a post to mark five years since ‘her life was changed forever’ and admits she ‘can’t believe the obstacles she has overcome since’

  • Alton Towers Smiler crash survivor Leah Washington  took to Instagram Tuesday
  • She marked five years to the day since she lost a leg in Alton Towers Smiler crash
  • Was on first date with boyfriend Joe Pugh, recently celebrated fifth anniversary 
  • Raised a glass to celebrate five years since she overcame crash on 2nd 2015 

Alton Towers Smiler crash survivor Leah Washington has shared a post to mark five years since she overcame the horrific accident at the amusement park in Staffordshire.

The brave amputee, 23, from South Yorkshire, who has garnered an almost 20,000-strong following on Instagram by sharing her progress since the shocking accident that summer, shared a picture as she raised a glass of bubbly in the back garden.

Admitting that her life ‘changed forever’ on the 2nd June 2015, Leah remained positive, marking ‘all the obstacles she has overcome since’ – and thanked friends, fans and family for their support. 

Leah Washington from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was forced to undergo a leg amputation as a result of the horror crash five years ago. 

Alton Towers Smiler crash survivor Leah Washington has shared a post to mark five years since she overcame the horrific accident at the amusement park in Staffordshire

Taking to Instagram yesterday evening, Leah was seen beaming as she wrote alongside an upbeat picture: ‘Five years.

‘Five years ago today my life changed forever, I can’t believe how quick the 5 years have gone and obstacles I have overcome since that day and the amazing opportunities that have arisen for me. 

‘I want to thank my friends, family and boyfriend for your continued support throughout everything, also my followers every single one of you are so kind & send me such lovely messages & comment positive things on my posts!’.

The post racked up over 2,000 likes and a whole host of supportive comments. 

The brave amputee, 23, from South Yorkshire, who has garnered an almost 20,000-strong following on Instagram by sharing her progress since the shocking accident that summer, shared a picture as she raised a glass of bubbly in the back garden

Leah Washington from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was forced to undergo a leg amputation as a result of the horror crash five years ago (seen)

Last week Leah and her boyfriend Joe Pugh celebrated their fifth anniversary – almost five years to the day they enjoyed their first date at the amusement park on June 2nd 2015. 

The pair posted a picture as they celebrated in their garden, decorated with banners, a table with beer pong and roulette, and a tasty takeaway from their local pub – finished off with ice cream.  

Joe revealed during a Q&A having spent lockdown isolating together, the couple plan to move in together permanently when it is lifted. 

Last week Alton Towers Smiler crash survivor Leah Washington and boyfriend Joe Pugh celebrated their fifth anniversary – almost five years to the day they enjoyed their first date at the amusement park on June 2nd 2015

The pair posted a picture as they celebrated in their garden, decorated with banners, revealing they had originally booked  a log cabin stay


Instead they celebrated with beer pong and roulette as they made the most of the hot weather this week

Posting a picture as they raised a beer in the garden, complete with comfortable outdoor seating and a large table, Leah simply wrote: ‘5 years’, with a heart.

Meanwhile Joe wrote: ‘We made it to 5 years should currently be in a log cabin but garden celebrations (with the household only to all the corona police) will have to do! 

‘Thanks for all the good times & memories over the last 5 year’s Leah! Happy anniversary’. 

The pair then shared an array of throwback pictures, including one where they enjoyed a boat ride during a tropical holiday.

The brave amputee, 23, from South Yorkshire, who has garnered an almost 20,000-strong following on Instagram by sharing her progress since the shocking accident in summer ’15

Joe revealed during a Q&A having spent lockdown isolating together, the couple plan to move in together permanently when it is lifted

The pair then shared an array of throwback pictures, including one where they enjoyed a boat ride during a tropical holiday

Leah was on her first proper date with boyfriend Joe Pugh when the Smiler rollercoaster carriage smashed into a stationary train at Alton Towers, in Staffordshire, during June 2015.

Leah from Barnsley, was one of two young passengers who lost a leg while Joe, suffered devastating injuries himself including two shattered kneecaps.

In spite the trauma of the crash, the pair have stayed together and often post pictures of their days out on social media.

Despite having a state-of-the-art £60,000 prosthetic leg which allows her to walk unaided, the teenager still suffers crippling pain and fatigue after standing for long periods.

The couple completed their feast with an ice cream delivery from the local ice cream van


The pair celebrated with pub takeaway food and opened presents from their parents – including a ‘date night box’

Joe wrote: ‘We made it to 5 years should currently be in a log cabin but garden celebrations (with the household only to all the corona police) will have to do!’

An investigation into the 2015 accident concluded that the crash was due to human error; an engineer had wrongly restarted the ride while a stationary carriage was on the track in front of it.

Alton Towers owner Merlin Attractions were fined £5million for health and safety breaches which were blasted by Judge Michael Chambers QC as a ‘catastrophic failure’.

They were fined an initial £5million, and interim payments have covered Leah and Joe’s medical and physio bills to date – but the pair have also submitted a ‘substantial’ compensation claim.

Leah’s £60,000 prosthetic leg – which contains a microprocessor knee – will need replacing every few years, which will amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds over her lifetime.

What happened during the Alton Towers Smiler crash?

On June 2, 2015, visitors were removed from the Alton Towers Smiler ride after a warning light indicated a fault.

Staff sent a test train around the track, but it didn’t make it around. Due to a breakdown in communication, staff did not realise this carrigage was still sitting on the track.

Passengers were let back on but as the first carriage made its way around, the computer system stopped it because it showed something was blocking the track.

Engineers were still not aware that there was a fifth carriage sitting on the track and overrode a fault which had been detected by the computer system, sending the ride crashing into an empty carriage with the force of a ’90mph car crash’.

At least 16 were injured and five people were seriously hurt. 

Leah Washington from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, and Vicky Balch from Leyland, Lancashire, were both forced to undergo leg amputations as a result of the horror crash.

The Smiler at Alton Park, where 16 people were injured in a 2015 collision (file picture). An investigation found that a computer block stopping the ride because of a stationary car on the track had been over-ridden by staff, causing the crash

Joe Pugh, also from Barnsley, and Daniel Thorpe, 28, from Buxton, Derbyshire, also suffered serious leg injuries, along with 49-year-old Chandaben Chauhan.

The trapped ride-goers had to wait more than four hours to be freed from the crumpled carriage while rescue workers battled to reach them as they sat 25ft up in the air at an angle of about 45 degrees, pinned in by the mangled metal. 

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