Alton Towers crash
Victoria BalchFacebook

A victim of the Smiler rollercoaster crash at the Alton Towers theme park has said she feared she was going to die as she waited to be rescued.

Vicky Balch, 20, was one of five people who were severely injured after a full carriage on the £18m rollercoaster crashed into an empty one on 2 June.

In her first public comments since the crash, Balch told the BBC "her only thoughts" during the agonising four-and-a-half hour wait before she was freed were that she would not survive.

"It felt like slow motion. We banged into the car in front. I felt the bars go into my knees; we moved backwards and the car went into us again," she told the BBC.

"I passed out. I was awoken by [fellow passenger and boyfriend] Dan shouting my name. Everyone was screaming and I was in excruciating pain. I looked down and I could see blood all over. The bars were in my right knee.

"The only thought that was going through my mind for the hours and hours that we were stuck was that we were going to die. If I was going to survive I would never walk again, that was certain. I thought it was never going to end. I just wanted to die."

In comments made to the broadcaster, lawyer Paul Paxton said she is fighting to save her leg from amputation.

Paxton, who represents several of the passengers, told the BBC: "Vicky has some very nasty leg injuries and I think it's fair to say that she is fighting... to survive, with one of the legs, to avoid an amputation. She's got some difficult times ahead... she's battling very hard."

Another victim of the crash, Leah Washington, 17, had her left leg amputated above the knee after she sustained serious injuries while riding the rollercoaster.

Balch was sitting at the front of the ride alongside Washington, Joe Pugh, 18, and Daniel Thorpe, 27 when it crashed.

Twelve other people were treated for non-life threatening injuries, with a fifth victim, Chandaben Chauhan, 49, later admitted to hospital with internal injuries.

Visitors at the theme park on the day of the accident claimed the £18m Smiler had broken down hours before the crash.

The £18m ($27.6m, €24.7m) Guinness World Record holder was opened in 2013 to much fanfare but was blighted by technical problems and closure before this month's crash.