A Liverpool football supporter has described the moment he tried to save his friend from being crushed during the Hillsborough disaster.
David Cruice told the Hillsborough inquests that his friend became trapped against a crush barrier as the tragedy unfolded in Pen 3 at the stadium’s Leppings Lane end during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.
Speaking via a videolink from Miami , Mr Cruice said his friend – named only as Andrew – became bent forward “at 90 degrees” over a crush barrier.
He said: “He looked round at me and his face was very, very red. His eyes were sort of very wide and there was significant distress and panic on his face.”
The witness described how he tried in vain to pull his friend away from the barrier. He said he feared that, if he could not free him, his friend would die.
He said: “I was screaming or shouting for the people behind Andrew to help me get him off the barrier. I will always remember the sight.
“Given how much pressure there was and what Andrew was going through, all the people around him were experiencing the same thing – just an unbelievable pressure – it seemed all these hands came over him from behind him and started pulling him back from the barrier as best they could.
“Even given the distress that people were in themselves, they were still doing everything they could to help others.”
Mr Cruice said that, in the panic, he was unable to hold on to his friend’s hand and suffered crushing injuries himself. He told the inquests jury the police seemed to be under the impression that people could simply move backwards to ease the pressure on fans at the front of the pen.
He said: “People were screaming at them to open the gates. They were shouting: ‘People are dying in here!'”
The Liverpool fan said he returned to the point where he had last seen Andrew once the pressure started to ease and found him supporting himself against the crush barrier.
Mr Cruice told the Warrington hearing that the policing of the match in was disorganised compared with the previous year’s FA cup semi-final at Hillsborough .
The hearing has heard that 96 Liverpool fans died at the match against Nottingham Forest following crushing in the central pens at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground.