HALF of the 18 unidentified Hillsborough heroes have come forward within 24 hours of a police appeal being launched.

Hillsborough investigators issued an appeal to track down 18 people who fought to save some of the 96 fans that died in the 1989 disaster.

CCTV images were released yesterday in order to aid the ongoing inquests in Warrington.

The images show 18 unidentified Hillsborough witnesses, all of whom tried to help some of those that were fatally injured at the FA Cup Semi Final.

It is believed the witnesses are 15 fans, two police officers and a match steward.

Nine witnesses have now been found, meaning only nine are left unidentified.

The images have been released by Operation Resolve, on behalf of the Coroner Sir John Goldring.
Operation Resolve was set up by Home Secretary Theresa May in 2012 after the Hillsborough Independent Panel Report was published.

Assistant Commissioner Jon Stoddart, who heads Operation Resolve, said "It is important to stress that we believe these people can help the Coroner's inquest process. I know these pictures are 26 years old but if anyone does recognise the people we need to speak to then I would urge them to get in touch immediately.

"There are still many questions that the families of the 96 have and we believe that these people may be able to provide answers to some of those questions.

The images show acts of extreme bravery, with some showing a group of men carrying a victim using an advertising hoarding as a makeshift stretcher.

Since it was set up, officers working as part of Operation Resolve have taken statements from more than 6,500 witnesses, but the 18 people pictured today have never been interviewed.

Mr Stoddart added: “I have a team of highly trained staff in place who will deal with witnesses sensitively as we understand how difficult some people will find this. The Operation Resolve website also contains useful contacts should members of the public require welfare assistance.”

Police need to speak to the 18 people because the new inquests into the disaster will soon begin to examine the movements of each victim.

Anyone who can identify any of the people in the images should call Operation Resolve on 0800 283 284 or visit the Operation Resolve website.