On a foggy afternoon on Sunday 6th May 1962, Ted Price was cutting bean sticks on the southern slope of the hillside below the Radar Station on St Boniface Down, Ventnor. Suddenly, a huge airliner burst through the mist, hitting the hill yards from where he had been standing.
Ted knew at once that this was a major incident and he was the only person able to help. The farm worker immediately climbed the 8ft security fence around the radar station and ran into the wreckage of the stricken aircraft, which was now engulfed in flames.
Despite the personal danger he faced, Ted made 7 trips into the plane’s burning fuselage to carry survivors to safety. The Wroxall man continued his rescue mission even when the fuel tanks had begun to explode.
Having assisted as many as could be helped, Ted climbed back over the fence to raise the alarm with a group of radio amateurs on a communications exercise on the downland. When the emergency services arrived he went home, reeking of smoke and aviation fuel but revealing nothing about what had happened.
Ted was eventually tracked down and received official commendation for his act of bravery. However, he shunned publicity and sought neither recognition nor praise for his actions. He never accepted that he had performed a heroic act, claiming that anyone would have done the same in similar circumstances.
Edwin Llewellyn Price died at home in Wroxall in March 2007. He is buried at Wroxall Cemetery where his grave overlooks St Boniface Down, the spot in which he repeatedly risked his life so 5 strangers could keep theirs.
A survivor of the plane crash said at Ted’s memorial service:
“I won’t say I’m glad to be here and, in many ways, I would rather not be, but I and my fellow passengers were able to come for two reasons – the Grace of God – and Ted Price.”
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