Socialist Worker

'More could have lived' at Hillsborough

Issue No. 2433

Detail from the Hillsborough memorial

Detail from the Hillsborough memorial (Pic: Ruth_W on flickr)

Ambulance staff said lives could have been saved if they had done things differently during the Hillsborough football disaster.

Some 96 Liverpool football fans died as a result of a crush in 1989. Former South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service (SYMAS) staff gave evidence to new inquests into the deaths this week.

Station officer Paul Eason agreed that had a casualty clearing area been set up on the pitch it would “probably” have saved lives.

He also agreed that some fans might have died while they were carried on their backs on advertising hoardings to the gym at the stadium.

And Eason agreed he should have looked into the pens when he arrived at the ground to assess the scale of the disaster.

The court heard that the ambulance service had previously described the operation at Hillsborough as a “success”.

SYMAS worker Leslie Worrall told the jury that he was “somewhat directionless” and treated injured fans at Hillsborough “at random”.

A statement Worrall made after the disaster was amended to say he knew casualties were being taken to the gym.

Worrall said he hadn’t been aware of this and that no one pointed out the amendment to him before he signed the statement.

The jury heard that ambulance officer Anthony Garrett’s statement was also altered.

A sentence was added reading, “Although some of the bodies had coats pulled over their heads, we checked every single body for signs of life.”

Garrett said he couldn’t remember discussing the change. But he said, “Even if they had a coat, I would have pulled it off and I would have checked.”

The inquests continue.

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