Hillsborough survivor's 'hero' appeal goes viral

Joe Smith
Image caption Joe Smith is trying to find the man in a white top and jeans who helped him at Hillsborough

An appeal to find a "hero" who helped pull an eight-year-old boy from the crush at Hillsborough has gone viral.

The Facebook message from survivor Joe Smith, now 35, has been shared more than 100,000 times since Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Smith, from Kirkby, saw himself on the shoulders of his rescuer while watching a BBC Two documentary.

He said he is following up "one potential strong lead" to find the man who helped him.

He wrote on the social media site: "The man whose shoulders I am on is the man who helped save my life at Hillsborough!"

"I've never in 27 years seen this image until the documentary just released, and it's thrown me big time.

"I would love to find this man and thank him for what he did for me that day."

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Media captionHillsborough survivor talks about his appeal to find the man who saved his life.

Mr Smith had gone with his stepdad and his brother to watch Liverpool play Nottingham Forest in the FA cup semi-final on 15 April 1989.

Inquests last month concluded 96 fans who died in the crush were unlawfully killed.

Mr Smith said watching the documentary "brought up a lot of memories of the day".

"It was footage I had never seen before and it was the first time I had seen this guy since the disaster," he said.

"It stirred the emotions a lot more than usual."

'Buy him a pint'

Mr Smith said his legs were being crushed as he sat at the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday's ground and his stepdad lifted him to get him out.

Image caption Joe Smith was eight when he was pulled from the crush at the Hillsborough stadium

He was passed over people's heads and taken to the other end where fans looked after him.

"I always had difficulty remembering how I got out off the ground," Mr Smith said.

"It's only when I saw the footage I realised this guy had pulled me out and put me on his shoulders and helped me."

He also recalled the man assured him "everything was going to be okay".

If he were to find his rescuer he said he would "thank him, embrace him and buy him a pint."

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