The Story of Tintagel

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On Friday July 6th 1979, villager and holidaymakers had a miraculous escape when an out of control RAF fighter jet ploughed into the village just yards away from a loaded petrol tanker. The Plane Crash 1979The pilot, who was on a training flight, experienced control difficulties and had to eject into the sea leaving his Hawker Hunter jet to crash into the ocean. Instead it veered towards land, hurtling at 250mph, a major disaster seemed inevitable. But it was nothing short of a miracle when the jet ended up wedged in a 12' gap between Klymiarven Guest house and King Arthur's Terrace, damaging just three cars, a greenhouse and a swimming pool in it's wake. Guesthouse owners, Jim White and John and Muriel Jewell, said they were lucky to be alive, along with Ivan Irons, who was up a ladder painting the first house to be hit, Westmead in Atlantic Road. Garage owner Jack Cann, was preparing to receive1,500 gallons of petrol when the pieces of the jet landed only 10 yards away. If the jet had exploded the whole village would have gone up. If the jet had not been stopped by the houses it could have ploughed down the high street killing many holidaymakers. In this amazing incident no one was seriously injured and even the pilot survived after being picked up by a Port Isaac fishing boat, the Lady Jane. At the time the plane crashed I was on the phone speaking to Fred Whiting, who at that time owned the launderette in Tintagel. I remember we were speaking about a TV repair when he suddenly said "I've got to hang up the phone...a plane is coming straight at the house!". In fact it ended up a few yards away from his house as it veered across a field before hitting Klymiarven and King Arthur's Terrace. I quickly gathered up a few movie films, grabbed my camera and dashed down to the scene. I shot quite a lot of film at the time and later showed it at the Social Hall in Tintagel at a special thanksgiving night held by the Parish Council. It really was an incredible escape...
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